Middletown Little League will hold registrations on Jan. 12, 19, 26 and Feb. 2 at the Middletown Youth Athletic Association field house at Bodman Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration will also be held at the Middletown Library on Jan. 24 and 31 from 7-8:45 p.m. Children ages 5-18 who live in the township are eligible. Registration is required even if the child has previously played MYAA baseball or softball. For more information, call (732) 747-2410. Middletown Little League will hold a special meeting on Jan. 12 at 9:45 a.m. at the fieldhouse at Bodman Park for the purpose of electing members to the Board of Directors. Voting will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. by secret ballot. Those interested in running should contact Ron Rapka at (732) 671-1577 (evenings), or John Campbell at (732) 458-5970 (daytime). The Aberdeen-Matawan Avalanche soccer team won its flight in the U10 division of the Mid New Jersey Youth Soccer Association. The team finished with a record of 8-1. The team members are Mike McCloskey, Tommy Toomey, Tommy Cavanaugh, Danny Toomey, Peter Drennan, Matt Albano, Sean Gleason, Tim Koch, Matt Oppramolla, Marc Nucum, Steven Laughlin, Sean Seery, Christian MacLane. The team was coached by Myron Popowych, George Cavanaugh and Craig Laughlin. The Central Jersey Chapter of the New Jersey Football Officials Association (NJFOA) is seeking candidates to become certified high school football officials in New Jersey. Candidates must be 18 years old, residents of New Jersey, and must be able to work Monday afternoons (sub-varsity games) and Friday afternoons (freshman games) in addition to Friday nights and Saturday mornings (varsity games). Candidates also must be available to work as part of the chain crew on Saturday afternoons. Deadline is March 28. For more information, call (732) 251-0360. The Hazlet Youth Athletic League will be holding registrations for its 2002 baseball/softball season for boys, ages 5-18, and girls, ages 5-16. Registration dates are Jan. 9, 16 and 23 from 7-9 p.m. at the Middle School cafeteria and Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to noon at the HYAL clubhouse. Registration fees for boys and girls, 5-12, is $100 per child, which includes a $25 raffle book donation. A separate work deposit check of $150 dated April 1 is also required. Birth date cutoffs are as follows: boys, July 31, 2002; and the new date for girls is Dec. 31, 2001. All new HYAL participants are required to provide proof of residency and birth certificate. Call (732) 264-3060 with any questions. Registration for St. Joseph Baseball, Keyport, ages 5-12, will be held Jan. 12, 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby of St. Joseph School, Keyport. For additional information, call (732) 739-4503.
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer PHOTOS BY MIGUEL JUAREZ staff Above, Keyport goalie Megan Flynn kicks away one of the many New Egypt advances during the CJGroup I final on Nov. 11 in New Egypt. At left, Jill Crane scores the lone Red Raider goal, while below, Amanda Stumpf tries to beat the Warrior goalie, but is stopped. The Keyport High School field hockey team made it all the way to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I final, and coach Sal Principe is setting his team’s sights clearly on the title for next year. This year’s Red Raiders turned in an impressive 14-7-1 mark that included winning streaks of six and eight games, and Keyport will lose just three seniors heading into next season. “It won’t get any easier because the competition is tough, but we want to win the [CJ Group I] title,” Principe said. “Last year we made the semifinals and this year we got to the finals; next year our goal is to win it.” Keyport lost a 4-1 decision against New Egypt on Thursday in the CJ Group I finale. The Red Raiders had lost in the state playoffs to New Egypt the past two seasons, and were hoping to avoid the trifecta. Principe’s team was also coming off perhaps its best game of the season. Leanne Young put the Red Raiders up 1-0 in the first half, assisted by Sara Cline and Jenna Stumpf. The score remained that way at the half. New Egypt came out strong and dominated the second half, despite a strong performance by Keyport goalie Megan Flynn, who had 22 saves on the day, including one on a penalty stroke. “It was a matter of New Egypt’s talent coming through in the second half,” Principe said. “They’re a very successful team and they know what it takes to win. Hopefully, our girls will learn from the experience and take it to the next step.” The Red Raiders earned a trip to the CJ Group I finals thanks to a dramatic, come-from-behind victory over Henry Hudson Regional in the semifinals. Hudson entered the contest having won its last six games against Keyport and looked on its way to a seventh, building a 3-0 lead just six minutes into the match. A frustrated Principe called timeout and his team settled down. Late in the half Olivia Triano scored to make it 3-1. Early in the second half, Triano broke her stick and the coach sent freshman Sara Cline into the game. Principe decided to keep Cline in after Triano returned and the decision paid off as the freshman scored with just under 10 minutes remaining. Throwing caution to the wind, Keyport pressed the attack as Hudson hung on. Finally, Cline scored again — with less than three minutes left— to send the contest into overtime. Cline continued her fine play and soon had another scoring chance; while the Hudson goalie made the save the rebound went to Amanda Stumpf, who fired the ball into the net to give the Red Raiders the win. “That was the most exciting win I can remember,” Principe said. “The girls never quit and it looked bad early in the game. They made it happen for themselves.” And with only Amanda Stumpf, wing Megan Gomer and Young graduating, Keyport should certainly be a contender again. Among the returnees are Triano, who led the team in scoring with 10 goals and 11 assists, and wing Lauren Louis, who added 10 goals and nine assists. Flynn was spectacular at times in goal while recording three shutouts has benefited from the tutelage of assistant coach Deboney Braithwaite, herself a former Keyport netminder. “Obviously we’re real excited about next year,” Principe said. With good reason, it would seem. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer
The founders of the Turkey Bowl football tournament, and the charity Jason’s Dreams for Kids, have called upon the Monmouth County community and beyond to continue their generous support of an event that this year will surpass $100,000 in total dollars raised and earmarked toward fulfilling the dreams of children diagnosed with life-threatening diseases. The area’s premier football tournament, the Turkey Bowl, marking its seventh year as the can’t-miss event for the area’s armchair athletes and Monday-morning quarterbacks, will be held Friday at Thompson Middle School on Nut Swamp Road in Middletown. The event generated in excess of $16,000 for Jason’s Dreams in 2005, and the organization is looking to double that total this year. Founded in 1992 in memory of Jason Douglas Creager, who passed away on Jan. 18, 1992, after losing his battle with cancer, Jason’s Dreams for Kids Inc. is devoted to granting wishes to children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Jason’s Dreams for Kids Inc. holds a variety of fundraising events to meet the cost of fulfilling these children’s wishes. “This year we hope to blow by the $100,000 mark in total dollars raised since the inception of the event,” said Adam Kazalski, founder of the Turkey Bowl. “The community’s historical support of this event has been tremendous. We strongly believe, like that of the children we are supporting through Jason’s Dreams for Kids, aided by the contributions of others, our potential is limitless.” The Turkey Bowl was created to marry all the good will felt around Thanksgiving with a notable cause and a football tournament that would help unclog the arteries of all those who went a bit overboard days earlier. The event has grown dramatically since first conceived in 2000, and later in 2001 was earmarked as an event to support Sept. 11 victims, before ultimately hooking up with Jason’s Dreams for Kids. Initially, the event featured four local teams from the Little Silver/Red Bank/Rumson area and just a few sponsors, and games were held at Sickles Field in Little Silver with room to spare. The event has since grown to 16 teams and far surpassed early expectations – in terms of participation, with teams coming from out of state, sponsorships from companies big and small across New Jersey, dollars raised – and a few years back, stretched the confinements of Sickles Field. Today, interest in the event has grown so great that hosting the tournament is now even pushing the boundaries of this year’s location, Thompson Middle School. Players range in age from 18 to 55, while the bulk of the participants are between 25 and 40 years old. “When we first partnered with The Turkey Bowl, we envisioned a vehicle toward raising awareness of Jason’s Dreams for Kids, but had no idea how significant a contribution the event would ultimately provide our organization or the impact it would hold locally,” said Dennis McGinnis, founder of Jason’s Dreams for Kids and a Red Bank businessman. “We are thrilled to be involved with an event that so many look forward to participating in and importantly fuels our mission of fulfilling dreams for kids diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.” There are sponsorship opportunities for as little as $250 still available for local businesses, big business with ties to Monmouth County, and others who simply want to support a good cause and enjoy a day of fun. While there are currently many sponsors for this event, to achieve this year’s aggressive goal of more than doubling 2005’s effort, the Turkey Bowl is looking for a Platinum sponsor. This would be one large corporate sponsor to essentially match the total money raised at the event. Approximately 95 percent of sponsors re-up every year and nearly 85 percent of teams participating have been involved in the Turkey Bowl multiple times. Adding to the fundraising effort will be a new twist this year that provides incentive for participating teams to raise dollars beyond their event participation fee. The team that raises the most money from friends and families and from their own pockets will win a team dinner with a number of former professional athletes from the area. Sixteen teams will compete in Turkey Bowl 2006. Games begin at 10 a.m. and will be played until 1:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available. Following the games, there will be a post-tournament awards ceremony and a family-oriented celebration from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at Chubby’s on West Front Street in Red Bank. Admission is free and the after-party includes hot food and a cash bar. “The Turkey Bowl is one of the highlights of my year,” said annual participant David Green. “Year after year we come to compete, have fun and give a little back to a worthwhile cause. It is by far the best organized sporting event I have been a part of.” For information on the Turkey Bowl or to register a team, contact or visit www.theturkeybowl.org. To make a contribution to Jason’s Dreams for Kids, call (732) 758-0060, or e-mail [email protected] Seventh annual event hopes to eclipse $100,000 mark in dollars raised
BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Matawan High School’s boys indoor track and field pole-vaulter Dylan Spadacini hit his best height of the season at 14-0 to win the NJSIAA Group II state championship, and Sara Isaacson of the girls’ team likewise hit a personal-best height, 11-0, for second place, as both advance to the Meet of Champions. The MOC will be held Saturday starting at 10 a.m. High-jumper Justin Love also made the cut with a 6-0 attempt for the sixth and final qualifying spot.All competition takes place at the John Bennett Indoor Complex in Toms River.“He knewhe had to hit his best jump,” coach Sam Turner said of Spadacini, who exceeded his previous best, by a half-foot, that he had hit in winning the Monmouth County, Shore Conference and Group II, North 2 championships. “I think our kids stepped up who were there and did the best they could. Dylan and Sara performed tremendously, and Justin Love is just scratching the surface.” Spadacini, who qualified in three events at the sectionals the previous weekend, ran an 8.24 in the 55-meter high hurdles but fell short of advancing, and skipped the high jump to allow himself the time to concentrate on the pole vault, his best event, said Turner.Isaacson also surpassed by a half-foot the height she had hit at the sectionals, where she had the top height but finished in second place based on misses.“Dylan has a good shot to win at the MOC, and Sara has a great shot to place,” said Turner. “For Love, the opening height will be 6-0, which is his personal best, so it will be difficult. But he has the talent and is capable. Anything can happen.” Matawan’s 4×400 relays that both qualified for the groups meet out of the sectionals had their best times of the season but did not qualify for the MOC. The boys finished in 3:41 and the girls were timed in 4:22.
I t was a Monday morning typical of many business offices and organizations serving the public as phones were ringing regularly and staff members were busily organizing files for the Tab Ramos Sports Center in Aberdeen.But it was even a little busier than usual for soccer programs coordinator Pat Sellitto, who is organizing an open house on Sunday from10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 17 Blair Road location showcasing the facility and running down some of the activities offered in the Aberdeen Country Day Camp.The camp, in its 12th year, is run all summer from June 25 through Aug. 31 for youngsters ages 5 to 13. As many as 100 children are enrolled each year and divided into groups of about 20 under two state-certified instructors per group. Registration for the camp will be conducted during the open house.There are many enrollment flex plans ranging from half-days to three-day packages to 10 days over two weeks, and it all will be explained with camp fees at the open house. Call Sellitto at 732-290-0003 for details. The skybox and bar at Tab Ramos Sports Center, Aberdeen, affords spectators the opportunity to watch practices and games in comfort. PHOTOS BY LAUREN CASSELBERRY Sellitto said that although the camp is largely sports oriented, there are a variety of other activities offered, including arts and crafts, Mad Science that many schools use for students to set up their own science projects, and a “Christmas in July” that includes a visit from Santa Claus. Just about every child has a program that falls under his or her interest, Sellitto said.Most activities are indoors, except for basketball, said Sellitto, and sessions are divided into 45-minute intervals. Other sports include soccer, flag football, volleyball, kick ball, roller hockey, T-ball, relay races, scooter races and roller-skating at the indoor turf arena. There also are field trips for miniature golf and bowling. Left: Birthday party guests get all the pizza they can eat in the party room, after some play time. “The funny thing is that the most popular sport activity is dodge ball,” Sellitto said. “Kids need to like sports in order for them to be in the camp.”There also is a spring break camp and a soccer camp during in April.The upcoming camp is one of the many activities offered at the center that opened nine years ago under its present name and operates daily from 10 a.m. to midnight. The center is named after the former soccer star at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark and a three-time All American at North Carolina State, who went on to play for the American Olympic team and Major League Soccer’s MetroStars for seven years. Ramos was inducted in 2005 into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Right: Indoor soccer facilities assure the game or class will go on, rain or shine. Along with the many sports offered to children and adults, there is a lounge for adults at the end of the evening’s activities as well as a restaurant for small food orders.Birthday parties for children can be booked at the center, featuring an hour of sports play plus “all you can eat” pizza and soda in the party room.Youth roller hockey classes and league play has just begun under director Chris Gosha, and men’s flag football that is played on Sundays in the spring begins on April 1. Adult flag football is played year-round. The youth program begins March 31 for kindergarten through sixth grade, and follows the guidelines of NFLYouth Football with a full schedule. Both flag football divisions are directed by Howard Gaber.Standings for all leagues can be found online at www.tabramossportscenter.com.“Youth flag football has had more signups than last year,” Sellitto said. Power skating camps are scheduled for ages 6-12 on July 17-19 and July 21-23.Youth lacrosse and soccer have fall and winter cycles, as does 5 on 5 travel soccer.The high-school-level indoor soccer recently finished its winter indoor season with 19 boys teams that include high schools in Middletown, Freehold, Marlboro, Holmdel, Manalapan, Matawan and Hazlet. There were 11 girls teams from Middletown, Edison and Matawan, among others.Adult men’s and women’s soccer leagues wrap up their seasons on April 5 and will have league seasons resuming indoors during the summer. Open house Sunday will showcase summer camp; sports for youth and adults available BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
By Iain RogersBARCELONA have hired Argentine Gerardo Martino, known as a disciple of the club’s possession-based style, to replace Tito Vilanova as coach, the Spanish champions said on Tuesday.The 50-year-old Martino, a Rosario native like Barca’s World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, has agreed a two-year contract, his new club said on their website (www.fcbarcelona.com).Vilanova, 44, stepped down last week to continue treatment for throat cancer after leading Barca to the La Liga title in his first season since taking over from Pep Guardiola.Known as ‘Tata’ (grandad), Martino burnished his reputation after steering Messi’s old club Newell’s Old Boys to Argentina’s ‘Final’ championship last month and to the semi-finals of this season’s Libertadores Cup.He made his name as a coach when he took Paraguay to the last eight of the 2010 World Cup, where they lost 1-0 to eventual champions Spain, and after quitting in 2011, turned down a lucrative offer from Colombia.Martino elected instead to return to Newell’s, the club where he played 509 matches as a midfielder under compatriot Marcelo Bielsa, from whom he is said to have inherited many of his coaching ideas.He is also a self-confessed admirer of Guardiola, who took over at German and European champions Bayern Munich at the end of last season.“I feel identified with the kind of football Barcelona play,” Martino told Spanish sports daily Marca in June.“It’s the style I like most,” he added.“The respect for the ball, playing out from the back, possession, interchange of passes.“The pass is the essence of football.”Martino becomes the fourth Argentine to coach at Barca after Roque Olsen, Helenio Herrera and Cesar Luis Menotti.His main priorities next season will be to retain the La Liga title while leading Barca to a third European crown in six seasons and their fifth overall.He inherits a team which has lost several younger members, including midfielder Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich, but has added Brazil forward Neymar, seen as one of the most exciting talents in the game.Club officials have also said they want to buy another centre back to partner Spain’s Gerard Pique and that Paris St Germain’s Brazil captain Thiago Silva was their primary target.Barca launch their bid for a fifth La Liga title in six years at home to Levante on the weekend of August 17/18.
By Steve KeatingSerena Williams kept her bid for a calendar-year grand slam on track, powering past big sister Venus 6-2 1-6 6-3 on a steamy star-studded night at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.Serena moved into the semi-finals, just two wins from history, in what proved the toughest test of her four matches.It is a major tennis event whenever the Williams sisters clash, and with Venus, twice a U.S. Open winner, standing in the way of defending champion Serena’s quest, their latest meeting turned into a primetime extravaganza, pulling in a crowd of A-listers including U.S. presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump and television celebrity Oprah Winfrey.Playing under the bright lights on the biggest stage in tennis, the Williams show crackled with more tension and drama than a Broadway production, relegating men’s champion Marin Cilic to a warmup act while world number one Novak Djokovic pulled mop up duty.For those who did stick around the National Tennis Center until the early hours of Wednesday morning they were treated to more superb tennis as Djokovic fought off a challenge from 18th seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-1 3-6 6-3 7-6(2).The Williams sisters had met 26 times before but never with so much riding on the result.A win by Venus would move her a step closer to a first grand slam since 2008 Wimbledon but would scuttle Serena’s chances of joining their sport’s most exclusive club of calendar-year grand slam winners which comprises just three members, Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf.The buzz around Arthur Ashe Stadium was like that of heavyweight title fight and the action on the court was much the same as Serena and Venus put family ties aside and slugged it out like sworn enemies.“She’s the toughest player I ever played in my life and the best person I know,” said Serena in an on-court interview. “So it’s going against your best friend and at the same time going against the greatest competitor for me in women’s tennis, so it was really difficult today.“When I’m playing her, I don’t think of her as my sister, because she’s playing so well, hitting big serves and running a lot of balls down.”The contest featured more intensity and emotion than in most of their other matches. Serena stared at the court and rarely looked up to make eye contact with her sister until the match was over and the sisters shared an embrace at the net.The 33-year-old top seed, winner of 21 grand slam singles titles, took charge of the opening set by securing service breaks in the fifth and seventh games after a brilliant start by Venus.However, Venus in the second set looked more like the player who has claimed seven grand slam singles titles, unleashing her power and drawing groundstroke errors from Serena for two service breaks that sent the match to a deciding third set.Serena seized control early in the third and rode the momentum to the finish and a final four meeting with unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci.Earlier, Cilic and Vinci were the first through to the quarter-finals but both needed to go the distance against tough French resistance.With Serena and Venus waiting in the wings, Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga kept everything on hold as the ninth-seeded Croat battled his way to a 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-7(3) 6-4 win over the scrappy Frenchman.Earlier, Italian Vinci needed a similar gritty effort to see off another player from France, Kristina Mladenovic, 6-3 5-7 6-4 on another sizzling hot day at Flushing Meadows.Cilic squandered three match points in the fourth set but came up strong in the fifth to stretch his Flushing Meadows win streak to 12 matches.“It was a big mental fight, especially after losing that fourth set,” Cilic said after the four-hour match. “Physically, it was very demanding.”Demanding, yes, but nearly as hot as the conditions faced by Vinci and Mladenovic who played the opening match of the day on a baking Arthur Ashe Stadium court.The 32-year-old Vinci showed off her fighting spirit while Mladenovic, a decade younger, wilted in the punishing conditions using up all of her medical timeouts during the two-hour, 32-minute test.A doubles specialist with a career grand slam on her resume, Vinci finally cracked the solo code to move onto the final four in singles at a major for the first time in her 18-year career.
By Nick MulvenneyENGLAND continued their revival under Eddie Jones with a deserved 39-28 victory over an ill-disciplined Australia side to claim their first ever win in Brisbane and take a 1-0 lead in their three test series on Saturday.Recovering from an early 10-0 deficit, the Six Nations champions scored tries through centre Jonathan Joseph, winger Marland Yarde and winger Jack Nowell with flyhalf Owen Farrell contributing 24 points with his boot.Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper scored two tries with fullback Israel Folau and Tevita Kuridrani also crossing but Bernard Foley, the hero of the 33-13 victory over England at last year’s World Cup, landed only three of his six kicks.The tourists have never scored more points against the Wallabies on Australian soil and will take huge confidence into the final two tests in Melbourne and Sydney over the next two weeks.England flanker James Haskell typified his team’s effort, ferocious in defence and at the breakdown as the tourists backed up Jones’s promise of a “Bodyline” series with a display of disciplined aggression.Australia will rue the regularity with which they were penalised by French referee Romain Poite and the loss of the edge in the scrum they enjoyed at Twickenham last October.It had looked like being another good evening for Australia when debutant Samu Kerevi put Hooper over in the corner after a period of sustained pressure in the ninth minute.The Wallabies doubled their lead seven minutes later when Foley delayed his pass to send Folau crashing through Farrell’s tackle to touch down.Two penalties from Farrell from in front of the posts helped England cut the deficit and a third made it a one point game after half an hour.Foley had just had a fine individual try called back for obstruction, though, when calamity struck for the home side in the 32nd minute.The flyhalf failed to get hold of a Folau pass out of defence, Kerevi also failed to control the loose ball and Joseph hacked through for a converted try.Foley landed his first penalty three minutes before halftime but Farrell’s fourth – the ninth time Australia were penalised – gave England a 19-13 lead at the break.A burst up the middle from Haskell and a lofted pass from George Ford gave winger Yarde a free run to the line six minutes into the second half and, when Farrell converted, England were 26-13 ahead.Wallabies loosehead prop Scott Sio was sin-binned in the 54th minute as England reasserted their traditional dominance at the scrum and another penalty at the set piece allowed Farrell to put England 29-13 ahead.Hooper popped up on the wing again to score his second try after a sweeping Australia move and Kuridrani ploughed over in the 71st minute before a Farrell penalty and Nowell’s breakaway effort in the final seconds gave England a famous victory.
These include one gold, two silver and five bronze medals.Noelyne Hetana grabbed gold in the 67kg category while the two silver medals were won by Samantha Kassman in the 73kg and Rahab Loi in the 49kg.Kassman was defeated by gold medallist Nicole Men of Australia while bronze was shared between Venice Megan of Fiji and Tokataake Mwenweata of Kiribati.Loi was defeated by gold medallist Keshena Waterford of Australia and bronze was shared between Lindsey Gavin of New Caledonia and Taraina Tuihaa of Tahiti.PNG bronze medal winners were Rosemary Tona in 46kg, Doris David in 57kg category, Stephanie Kombo in 62kg, Rhoda Bina in the 73kg heavyweight category and Theresa Tona in the 53kg.
Apoel and Apollon, the two teams leading the championship race, surged further clear following the weekend results, while Anorthosis and AEK now appear set to battle for third and fourth place.In the relegation group, the omens are not looking good for Olympiakos who went down 1-0 to Doxa Katokopias, and coupled with Alki’s away win over Ermis Aradippou, they now trail their nearest rivals (Nea Salamina) by four points.Apoel extended their winning streak against Omonia to 10 games with a comfortable 2-0, thanks to two second-half goals by Lucas de Souza and Guilherme Dellatorre.It was no more than Apoel deserved as they dominated play, and apart from the final quarter of the game, were rarely troubled by their opponents who paid the price of a defensive mindset with their lone striker Matt Derbyshire having to battle on his own for most of the game.The win allowed Apoel to regain top spot as Apollon had briefly gone top with a 5-1 thumping of AEL 24 hours earlier.Apollon made a mockery of the notion that their local derby against AEL would be a closely contested affair.A stunning second half display by Apollon inflicted a humiliating 5-1 defeat on AEL, with their coach Bruno Baltazar accepting full responsibility and offering his resignation after the game.Apollon’s skipper Fotis Papoulis and Sasa Marcovic grabbed a brace while defender Hector Yuste started the rout in the 11th minute.The best game of the weekend took place at the Arena stadium where AEK and Anorthosis played out a 2-2 draw.AEK could have made the game safe in the opening 30 minutes, but poor finishing and some excellent goalkeeping by Ariel Harush kept them at bay.In fact, it was Anorthosis who opened the score totally against the run of play just after the half-hour mark.AEK fought back and managed to turn the game around with two goals in as many minutes. Jorge Larena first equalised from the penalty spot and then fired the Larnaca team ahead.However, twelve minutes from the end a tame shot by Michal Duris somehow found its way past Juan Pablo for the equaliser.In the bottom group, Alki scored an impressive away win over Ermis Aradippou with their leading scorer Fabricio netting the only goal of the game in the 64th minute.The win allowed Alki to leapfrog Nea Salamina who lost 3-1 at home to Pafos FC, despite taking an early lead through Carlao.Sikorski’s equaliser on the stroke of half time turned the tie, with the same player adding another three minutes after the restart. Brules made sure of the points for the Paphos team who now seem set for another year in the top flight.Doxa showed why they topped the group as they were far better than bottom-placed Olympiakos and won by a 30th minute Asamoah goal.Football Highlights
There was no great escape for Venus Williams on Friday as the five-times champion became the latest top-10 seed to perish at Wimbledon after she was beaten 6-2 6-7(5) 8-6 in a pulsating third-round match by Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens.The American, at 38 the oldest woman in the draw, had to recover from a set down in her first two matches but her days of living dangerously were ended by a opponent who simply would not give up.The precision serve that had gone AWOL during the first set – with the ninth seed holding serve only once – was back on target for Williams as she produced some exquisite volley winners to snap up the second set when Bertens smacked a forehand long.But all the effort she put into forcing a decider despite being two points from defeat in the second set came to nothing as Bertens played the match of her life to reach the second week at the All England Club for the first time in her career.Bertens had come agonisingly close to toppling Williams in Miami this year, when she had held three match points, and she seemed to have learned from that near miss as she dropped to her knees in triumph after watching the American net a backhand to end the two hour, 40 minute thriller.Williams’ defeat continued the horror show for women’s seeds at Wimbledon as only two of the top 10 – world number one Simona Halep and number seven Karolina Pliskova – are still in the tournament. It is the worst showing by the women’s seeds in the professional era. (Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ed Osmond)
Six-time champion Roger Federer avoided an early exit from the ATP Finals as he rediscovered his form to outclass Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-2 6-3 at the 02 Arena on Tuesday.The Swiss maestro found himself with his back to the wall after an error-strewn loss to Kei Nishikori in his opening round-robin match — his first straight sets defeat in 46 group stage matches at the season-ending showpiece.Another loss would have made it impossible for him to reach the semi-finals for the 15th time in 16 appearances at the tournament.Yet 48 hours later, the 37-year-old Federer looked much more like his old smooth self as he rebounded in style, to the delight of the majority in the packed stadium.Whereas he struggled for timing and was a little grumpy on Sunday against Nishikori, Federer found his groove from the start against Thiem as he hunted an early break.Thiem saved a break point in the opening game but at 1-1 he sent a forehand long to give Federer the advantage he never really looked like relinquishing.Two tame volley errors by Thiem gave Federer another break for a 5-2 lead as he cruised to the opening set.Federer turned the screw to break again immediately in the second set and never looked in any danger of a defeat which would have made it impossible for him to reach the semi-finals.He will face South African Kevin Anderson in his final match in the Lleyton Hewitt group on Thursday.Tournament debutant Anderson leads the group with two wins after thrashing Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-0 6-1 earlier and would have been assured of a semi-final spot had Federer been beaten by Thiem or even dropped a set.As it stands Federer will likely have to avenge his Wimbledon loss this year by Anderson to reach the semi-finals although all four players in the group could still mathematically progress.
Results and fixtures for the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday (start times are CET) 1st Qualifying Round ————————————————– Riga (0) 4 Dundalk (0) 5 …. full-time: 0-0 extra-time: 0-0 penalties: 4-5 aggregate: 0-0 Dundalk win 5-4 on penalties Qarabağ (0) 2 Partizani Tirana (0) 0 …. aggregate: 2-0 Qarabağ win AIK (0) 3 Ararat-Armenia (0) 1 …. aggregate: 4-3 AIK win Rosenborg (1) 4 Linfield (0) 0 …. aggregate: 6-0 Rosenborg win Ludogorets (1) 2 Ferencváros (2) 3 …. aggregate: 3-5 Ferencváros win CFR Cluj (2) 3 Astana (1) 1 …. aggregate: 3-2 CFR Cluj win Piast Gliwice (1) 1 BATE (0) 2 …. aggregate: 2-3 BATE win Sutjeska (0) 4 Slovan Bratislava (0) 3 …. full-time: 1-1 extra-time: 1-1 penalties: 3-2 aggregate: 2-2 Sutjeska win 4-3 on penalties Maribor (2) 2 Valur (0) 0 …. aggregate: 5-0 Maribor win Celtic (1) 2 Sarajevo (0) 1 …. aggregate: 5-2 Celtic win