Ryder Cup: Europe captain Paul McGinley has announced he will have three wild cards for next year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. His predecessor Jose Maria Olazabal had just two selections to make for the 2012 match against the United States at Medinah, when he selected golfers Nicolas Colsaerts and Ian Poulter. However McGinley will be given more of an opportunity to tailor his side with the addition of the third wild card, which means nine automatic qualifying places will be available for the 12-man team, four via the European Tour points list and five from the world points list.
Rugby Union: Australia openside flanker George Smith has not damaged his knee as badly as first thought, the ACT Brumbies said yesterday, and could be fit to play in the back end of the series against the British and Irish Lions. Smith, who won 110 caps for his country before retiring from international rugby in 2010, damaged the joint playing for the Brumbies against the New South Wales Waratahs last Saturday, the eve of the announcement of the preliminary Wallabies squad.
Cycling: Spain’s Benat Intxausti won stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia yesterday between Valloire in France and Ivrea in Italy, while…
Paris St Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s superb first year in French football was recognised at the Union Nationale des Footballeurs Professionnels (UNFP) awards.
Ibrahimovic bagged his 28th and 29th goals of the season in a 3-1 win over Brest at the weekend and the Swede has been widely hailed as the jewel in PSG’s crown as they claimed their first top-flight league title since 1994.
He succeeded Eden Hazard as the Ligue 1 player of the year ahead of team-mates Thiago Silva and Blaise Matuidi and St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
It was a night to savour for PSG, with seven of their players named in the team of the year.
Rizzoli to referee CLeague final
Italian Nicola Rizzoli has been named as the referee for Saturday’s Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich at Wembley.
UEFA confirmed yesterday that the 41-year-old Rizzoli, who was in charge of the 2010 Europa League final and was on duty at Euro 2012, had been selected.
He will be assisted by fellow Italians Renato Faverani and Andrea Stefani with the fourth official, Damir Skomina, coming from Slovenia.
Di Canio fury
Paolo Di Canio launched an angry attack on the discipline of his…
Valletta and Hibernians have been drawn to face each other again, this time in one of the semi-finals of the U-Bet FA Trophy.
The two teams also faced off last Saturday, with the Hibs victory forcing a title decider with Birkirkara.
National Stadium: BOV Premier League 5 p.m. Valletta vs Hibernians.Centenary Stadium: BOV Division Three 2 p.m. Mdina Knights vs Kalkara; 4 p.m Mtarfa vs Luqa St Andrew’s; 6 p.m. Attard vs Qrendi.Luxol Stadium: BOV Division Three 3 p.m. Għaxaq vs Senglea Athletic; 5.15 p.m. Marsaskala vs Marsa.Sirens Stadium: BOV Division Three 3 p.m. Xgħajra Tornadoes vs Ta’ Xbiex; 5.15 p.m. Sirens vs Sta Luċija.Tedesco Stadium: Youth FA U-17 9 a.m. Luqa vs Kalkara. U-15 11 a.m. Ħamrun Spartans vs Mosta; 1 p.m. Sliema Wanderers vs St Andrew’s.Mellieħa: YFA U-17 9 a.m. Mellieħa vs Floriana; 11 a.m. Sirens vs Marsaxlokk; 1 p.m. Naxxar Lions vs Żejtun Corinthians.Rabat: YFA U-17 1 p.m. Qormi vs Pembroke; 3 p.m. Tarxien Rain-bows vs Balzan. U-15 5 p.m. Rabat Ajax vs San Ġwann.Melita Ground: Youth FA U-17 1 p.m. Melita vs Mosta; 3 p.m. St Patrick vs Ħamrun Spartans. U-15 5 p.m. Melita vs Gozo FC.Żebbuġ: Youth FA U-17 1 p.m. St Andrew’s vs Msida St Joseph; 3 p.m. Żebbuġ Rangers vs Rabat Ajax.Għargħur: Girls Under-16 KO QFs 10 a.m. Birkirkara vs Tarxien Rainbows; 11 a.m. Gozo FC vs Hiber-nians; noon Mosta vs Ħamrun Spartans.Tarxien: Swan KO SFs 1.45 p.m. Valletta St Pauli vs Żejtun; 3.15 p.m. Lija/Iklin…
Balzan FC 0Rabat Ajax 5Felice 45; Negrin 61, 65, 82, 87;
Rabat wrapped up their league commitments on a high as after having fulfilled their objective to prolong their stay in the top-flight, they managed to put their striker Josè Luis Armario Negrin in the driving seat to be crowned the new goal king in Malta in an emphatic win over a dejected Balzan.
The Spainard struck an impressive four-goal haul that lifted him above Tarxien forward Daniel Mariano Bueno in the goalscoring charts with 22 goals.
Negrin was Rabat’s major dangerman yesterday and after five minutes he burst clear of Matthew Mendy and Aaron Agius and the Spanish forward lifted the ball over the bar in an attempt to beat goalkeeper Frederick Tabone.
Balzan finally threatened on 27 minutes but Kevin Camilleri’s shot was cleared off the line by Joseph Caruana.
On 36 minutes Rabat were awarded a penalty when Caruana released Negrin who was brought down in the area by Tabone with the referee pointing to the spot.
Negrin picked himself up but his shot hit the bar.
But Rabat were not to be denied on the stroke of half-time when Justin Felice was first to Diego Carrillo Pendas’ free-kick and headed past Tabone.
Seven players will miss the final round of matches from the BOV Premier League to serve suspension imposed on them by the Malta FA Disciplinary Commissioner, yesterday.
Rabat Ajax midfielder Manuel Fuster picked the heftiest ban.
The Spaniard was dismissed in his team’s 4-1 defeat of Melita and was suspended for two matches. He will sit out his team’s final match against Balzan along with team-mate Clive Brincat was also banned for one match.
The other players handed a one-match ban yesterday were: Udo Nwoko (Floriana), Roderick Fenech (Ħamrun Spartans), Ivan Tufegdzic (Melita), Luke Sciberras (Qormi) and Andrew Agius (Tarxien Rainbows).
Gozo Stadium: GFA Super Cup 4 p.m. Nadur Youngsters vs Kerċem Ajax.Centenary Stadium: Youth League 3 p.m. Qormi vs Mosta; 5 p.m. San Ġwann vs Rabat Ajax.Luxol Stadium: Youth League 3 p.m. Birkirkara vs Floriana.Sirens Stadium: Youth League 3 p.m. St Patrick vs Hibernians; 5 p.m. Sliema Wanderers vs Naxxar Lions.Żebbuġ: Youth League 3 p.m. Melita vs Balzan.Mosta: Youth League 4 p.m. Sta Venera vs Msida.Għaxaq: Youth League 4 p.m. Tarxien vs Mġarr United.Pembroke: Youth League 4 p.m. Pembroke vs Gudja United.Rabat: Youth FA U-17 9 a.m. Balzan vs Qormi; 11 a.m. Rabat Ajax vs Mellieħa. Youth League 4 p.m. Dingli Swal-lows vs Mellieħa.Siġġiewi: Youth FA U-17 9 a.m. Floriana vs St Andrew’s; 11 a.m. Tarxien vs Żejtun. Youth League 4 p.m. Lija vs Żejtun.Tarxien: IASC KO, first round 8.15 a.m. Żabbar Crystal Blues vs Gżira United; 9.30 a.m. Senglea Youngsters vs Birżebbuġa Tigers; 10.45 a.m. Mġarr Falcons vs Birkirkara St Joseph.
St Martin’s: 42nd National Championships finals. First matches at 10 a.m.
Ta’ Qali: Women’s league final (game 4) 4.30 p.m. Depiro vs Luxol.
Marsa: 17th meeting of the season. First race at 2.30 p.m.
Floriana 3Coronado 19; Casha 54, 67;Ħamrun Spartans 1Grima 31;
The pressure was on Ħamrun Spartans.
They knew they had to collect all the points at the expense of Floriana to keep their slim hopes of staving off relegation.
Matters became complicated when they fell behind early in the match following a freak goal.
However, an almost immediate equaliser gave the Spartans a breather but then Floriana’s home-grown youngster Luca Casha, until then a virtually unknown pro-position, took Ħamrun apart with two second-half goals.
Casha’s brace sealed Ħamrun’s fate as the fallen giants of Maltese football were relegated to Division One, to the delight of Rabat Ajax who are now assured another season in the top flight as they have an unassailable four-point lead over the demoted Spartans.
Two of the three changes in Floriana’s team from the 2-1 defeat of Rabat Ajax were enforced upon coach Iain Brunskill by the suspensions of goalkeeper Tony Warner, who was replaced by Jonathan Debono, and Steve Pisani. The latter’s void was filled by Sacha Borg while Joseph Borg was preferred to Thomas Paris.
Already missing the services of Malta forward Terence Vella, Spartans coach Stefan Sultana left…
National Stadium: BOV Premier League 3 p.m. Floriana vs Ħamrun Spartans; 5 p.m. Hibernians vs Mosta.Centenary Stadium: BOV Division Two 3 p.m. St George’s vs Għargħur; 5 p.m. Żebbuġ Rangers vs Pembroke Athleta.Mosta: BOV Division Two 3 p.m. Żurrieq vs Siġġiewi; 5.15 p.m. St Patrick vs Fgura United.Luxol Stadium: BOV Division Three 3 p.m. San Ġwann vs Msida St Joseph; 5.15 p.m. Kirkop vs Mġarr United.Sirens Stadium: BOV Division Three 3 p.m. Qrendi vs Mtarfa; 5.15 p.m. Luqa SA vs Mdina Knights.Siġġiewi: Youth FA U-17 9 a.m. Balzan vs Msida St Joseph; 11 a.m. Qormi vs Tarxien Rainbows.Mellieħa: Youth FA U-17 9 a.m. Birkirkara vs Sliema Wanderers; 11 a.m. Mellieħa vs St Andrew’s.St Patrick Ground: Youth FA U-17 1 p.m. Żejtun vs Floriana; 3 p.m. Xgħajra vs Lija-Iklin.Pembroke: Youth FA U-17 1 p.m. Pembroke vs Żebbuġ Rangers; 3 p.m. Marsa vs Gudja.Mġarr: Youth FA U-17 1 p.m. Naxxar Lions vs Rabat Ajax; 3 p.m. Mġarr vs Żurrieq.Gozo Stadium: GFA Division Two Super Cup 2 p.m. Oratory Youths vs Għajnsielem. GFA Cup final 4 p.m. Nadur Youngsters vs Kerċem Ajax.Sannat: Youth FA U-15 1 p.m. Gozo FC vs St Andrew’s. BOV Women’s League 3 p.m. Gozo FC vs Birkirkara.Għargħur: Women’s U-16 league 9…
Melita 1Galea 48;Rabat Ajax 4Negrin 40 pen; Pendas 68, 85; Licari 89;
Seemingly down and out after a run of 21 games without a win, Rabat Ajax are now within touching distance from retaining their top-flight status after finally breaking their jinx against Melita who have now been condemned to relegation.
The Magpies’ strong second fightback, after Melita had partially drawn level, mirrored the collective resolve of their players shown throughout the season as Diego Carrillas Pendas put up a blistering performance that led the team to a crucial victory.
Rabat are now four points clear of second-from-bottom Ħamrun Spartans who face Floriana tomorrow. Should the Reds fail to pick up a point from the match, Rabat will be assured of prolonging their stay in the top flight for another season.
Both sides opted for a change between their respective goals as Melita’s Philip Schranz and Rabat’s Sean Mintoff were drafted back into the starting formation.
As expected Ivan Carapic replaced the suspended Justin Felice for the Magpies as Manuel Sierra Camacho and Karl Vella Petroni were given the nod to start after seeing out a one-match ban.
It was a fractious opening period with plenty of…