MILAN - Zdenek Zeman has been sacked as coach of Roma a day after the Serie A side suffered a humiliating 4-2 home loss to Cagliari, the club announced. Roma's ninth defeat in 23 games, the most of any side in the top half of the table, led 500 fans to protest outside the Stadio Olimpico late on Friday. General manager Franco Baldini phoned club president James Pallotta in the United States overnight to discuss the situation and after three hours of crisis talks on Saturday Zeman was relieved of his duties.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Blanco - formerly the Rabobank team - have suspended Spanish rider Luis Leon Sanchez provisionally amid accusations he was linked to Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in the Operation Puerto blood doping racket. The Dutch team said it is investigating and would in the meantime not select 2005 Tour Down Under winner Sanchez. "The object of this investigation is to verify or refute revelations which appeared in the Dutch press on the subject of the role of our rider in the Fuentes affair," Blanco said in a statement.
BERLIN - Bayern Munich picked up their 16th win in 20 Bundesliga matches on Saturday to maintain their stranglehold on the German league as Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic scored twice in a 3-0 win at Mainz. Bayern had lost on two of their past three visits to Mainz, but this time the league leaders made their dominance of possession count at the Coface Arena. "That was a very important win with regards to the title," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes. "We knew it wouldn't be an easy game and we prepared thoroughly for it."
VINA DEL MAR, Chile - Rafael Nadal says he's not focused on winning his first match in eight months when he returns next week at the Chile Open. The result was not as important for now as achieving "an acceptable level" after a left knee injury forced him to take the longest break of his career, he said on Saturday. "After spending more than six months without competing, I'm not thinking about becoming No.1," Nadal said at a news conference in the coastal resort of Vina del Mar.
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona - Phil Mickelson birdied his last four holes on Saturday to grab a six-stroke lead after the third round of the US PGA Tour's Phoenix Open. Mickelson, who flirted with a 59 before settling for a first-round 60 and carded a second-round 65 that was marred by a double bogey at 18, had no late lapse to card a seven-under 64 in the rich $US6.2 million ($A5.97 million) tournament. After two birdies on the front nine, he added another at the par-five 13th, then stormed home with birdies at 15, 16, 17 and 18.
PARIS - Top seeded Italian Sara Errani will play Germany's Mona Barthel in the final of the Paris Open after they both clinched easy semi-final victories on Saturday. Errani was hardly tested as lucky loser Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands retired injured in the first set with a back problem when the 2012 French Open finalist was leading 5-0 and in full command. Barthel meanwhile sailed through the first set 6-1 against Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.