MADRID - Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said on Saturday that former midfield star Zinedine Zidane had stepped down as the club's sporting director as he instead looks to obtain coaching qualifications in France. Last November, the former star began a course in sports management in the French city of Limoges but had also remained on the Real payroll as the club agreed he would give individual tuition to young players in the reserve set-up.
MADRID - Malaga maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they cruised to a 4-0 victory over Real Betis with the game turning on an early penalty and the sending off of goalkeeper Casto Espinosa. Manuel Pellegrini's side now sit in second place on 14 points, one point behind Barcelona, after another fine display of attacking football where they took full advantage of their extra man from the 10th minute.
Wolves in final
ST HELENS, United Kingdom - Trent Waterhouse's two tries left Warrington eyeing a domestic league and cup double as they reached their first Super League grand final with a 36-18 victory over St Helens on Saturday. Victory also saw former St George Dragons five-eighth Tony Smith become the first coach to take two different clubs to the grand final, with Challenge Cup winners Warrington now up against champions Leeds, his old side, at Old Trafford on October 6. The match is also a repeat of last month's Challenge Cup final, which the Wolves won 35-18 at Wembley.
At the top
MILAN - Juventus pulled away from Napoli at the top of Italy's Serie A with a 4-1 thrashing of Roma as hosts Parma held a seemingly resurgent AC Milan to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Roma coach Zdenek Zeman had helped stoke the fire in the days leading up to the Juve match with comments on an autobiography by former Serie A player Matias Almeyda which revived Juventus's murky doping past.
Cup hopes alive
CHICAGO, Illinois - Europe's Ryder Cup team were rallying behind flag-bearer Ian Poulter ahead of Sunday's closing Ryder Cup singles as they targetted an historic come-from behind win. Never before has a European team rebounded from a 10-6 deficit at the end of the second day to win the trophy, but morale was given a timely boost when they won the final two fourballs in the gathering gloom at Medinah Country Club on Saturday evening. The final action of the day came from Ryder Cup firebrand Poulter, who downed a 15-footer at 18 to ensure he and world No.1 Rory McIlroy held on to defeat Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.
BEIJING - Fourth seed Petra Kvitova sent out a message of intent on Saturday, convincingly defeating Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets to progress to the second round of the China Open in Beijing. The world number five from the Czech Republic was in full control throughout almost all of her first round match at the capital's National Tennis Stadium, powerfully overcoming her opponent, ranked 33 in the WTA standings, 6-2 6-3.