PARIS, - Marseille missed the chance to climb back into second spot in French soccer's Ligue 1 yesterday as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Rennes in Brittany. Marseille led at the interval thanks to a strike from Ghana star Andre Ayew, who bulldozed his way through the home defence and exchanged passes with Mathieu Valbuena before poking the ball past advancing Rennes 'keeper Benoit Costil. However, they were pegged back just before the hour mark when defender Kevin Theophile-Catherine powerfully headed home a right-wing corner for a rare goal. The draw leaves Marseille three points behind leaders Lyon.
RUSTENBURG - Togo stunned Algeria 2-0 yesterday to send the former champions packing from the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament, boosting their own hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor's first-half goal and Dove Wome's in stoppage time sealed a memorable win which will have been greeted with jubilation in the Ivory Coast camp as it guaranteed their place in the last eight with a game to spare. Togo's victory left the Ivorians, who moved up to six points after their 3-0 win over Tunisia earlier, assured of top place in Group D.
Clerc ruled out
PARIS, - France suffered a major blow ahead of next weekend's Six Nations opener with Italy as leading tryscorer Vincent Clerc was ruled out because of a thigh injury yesterday. The 31-year-old Toulouse wing — whose tally of 34 tries puts him second on France's all-time list four behind Serge Blanco — injured his thigh in Saturday's Top 14 19-14 home win over Biarritz. After undergoing scans yesterday it was estimated that Clerc will be out injured for between 8-10 days which could see him fit again for France's second game at home to reigning Grand Slam holders Wales on February 9.
WELLINGTON, - Australian Nathan Earle has held on to comfortably win the New Zealand Cycle Classic in the Manawatu region. Earle was unchallenged on the fifth and final stage, finishing safely in the peleton at the end of a 117km circuit on the outskirts of Palmerston North. Compatriot Tom Palmer, riding for the Drapac team, won a bunch sprint ahead of New Zealand national team rider Patrick Bevin and another Kiwi, Trek-Vittoria's Clinton Avery. Earle, 24, opened up a lead of more than a minute on the field after winning the second and fourth stages, helped by a powerful Huon Salmon-Genesys team which stayed near the front of the peleton throughout the tour.
Juve signs Anelka
MILAN - Juventus have signed French striker Nicolas Anelka from Shanghai Shenhua on a five-month rolling contract, according to club president Beppe Moratta. The former French international, 33, becomes the Serie A champions' second big-name signing in a week after the capture of Spanish international Fernando Llorente, who will join the club on July 1. "I'm really happy to be here," Anelka told reporters after arriving in Turin by private jet. Moratta told Sky Sport Italia that the signing was "not official yet", however Anelka was shown on TV meeting and shaking hands with club officials.