SEVILLE, Spain - Atletico Madrid won 4-2 at nine-man Real Betis to rise to second place in the Spanish league on Wednesday, with Radamel Falcao scoring a double to become the leading scorer this season. Betis took a 2-1 advantage into halftime after having the good fortune to score off a pair of passes that ended up finding the back of the net. But Falcao answered both times to take his league tally to seven goals.
MILAN, Italy - An Edinson Cavani hat-trick handed Napoli a 3-0 win over Lazio to keep pace with Serie A leaders Juventus as AC Milan finally broke their San Siro jinx by beating Cagliari 2-0 at home Wednesday. Cavani’s first-half brace and third goal just after the hour meant Walter Mazzarri’s side join Juventus in remaining unbeaten after five games, and put the Uruguayan top of the league scoring charts on five goals.
John Bond dies
LONDON - One of the most colourful club managers in English football from the 1970s and 1980s, John Bond, has died aged 79. Bond — always dapperly dressed and often seen smoking a cigar — was known for his teams’ pleasing football style and was instrumental in turning unfashionable Norwich City into an established First Division (now the Premier League) side in the 1970s. He took them to the 1975 League Cup final where they lost to Aston Villa.
JOHANNESBURG - Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says frustrated five-eighth Quade Cooper would be welcome back in the Australian camp despite his criticism that it’s a toxic environment. While the Wallabies have been in Johannesburg preparing for their Rugby Championship Test against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, Cooper lashed the Australian set-up and Deans’ conservative game plans.
SYDNEY - The Queensland Reds have moved to publicly reassure fans that controversial playmaker Quade Cooper will remain with the Super Rugby franchise. On Wednesday Reds chief executive Jim Carmichael penned an open letter to Reds members and supporters on the side’s website and released it to the media, in response to Cooper repeatedly airing his increasing dissatisfaction with the code. In the letter Carmichael wrote: “let me reassure you that Quade has no interest in leaving the Reds.
PORT MORESBY - Buying into an NRL team looms as a serious option for the Papua New Guinea government - but it hasn’t given up on eventually having its own rugby league team in the competition. Rugby league is hugely popular among PNG’s seven million inhabitants and it’s the only country that has the code as its national sport.
Stosur in last 4
TOKYO - Samantha Stosur faces the unenviable task of having to beat Maria Sharapova to advance to the semi-finals of the Pan Pacific Open. While Stosur enjoyed a 6-4 7-5 win over Dominika Cibulkova to advance to the final eight on Wednesday, a much tougher target looms.