ISCHIA, Italy - Juventus cemented a 29th Italian soccer title triumph yesterday after another near-flawless campaign but, for coach Antonio Conte, hoisting the club back among European football's giants will be hampered by a cash-strapped Serie A. Conte lashed out following Juve's quarter-final humbling by Bayern Munich last month in Europe's premier club competition. "The answer is, we have to work hard and try to take our football to a new level and, to do that, we have to increase the budget that's available to us," he said.
Fowler on fire
WELLINGTON - Another outstanding effort from towering shooter Jhaniele Fowler eased the Southern Steel home 60-55 over NSW Swifts in their trans-Tasman netball league clash in Invercargill on Monday. Fowler's accuracy and strength were key in securing the win, the 1.98m Jamaican shooting 59 from 63 at 94 per cent accuracy as the southerners moved into fifth place on the ladder with their third win of the season. The role of captain Jodi Brown was equally important, and although she sunk just one shot from three over 60 minutes, her work rate up court and superb feeding were vital to the win. With just one win from five starts going into Monday's game, and languishing in ninth place, the Swifts desperately needed a win.
MADRID - Samantha Stosur crashed out of the WTA Madrid Open in the first round yesterday, losing 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 to Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro. Seeded ninth, the 2011 US Open champion held her own in the first set against a player who lost in the final of the Oeiras tournament on Saturday, but her game unravelled after she lost the tie-break. Stosur joined fifth seeded Li Na of China and 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark on the sidelines. Top seed Serena Williams moved smoothly into the second round on Sunday with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 win over Kazakh qualifier Yulia Putintseva.
Chiefs star back
WELLINGTONP - All Blacks halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow is poised to return to the Chiefs this weekend after missing five Super Rugby games with a broken jaw. A Chiefs statement said Kerr-Barlow is the only player on a 10-strong injury list expected to return for Friday's match against the Western Force at Pukekohe, although prop Ben Afeaki was described as a possibility. Kerr-Barlow, 22, suffered the injury on March 22 against the Highlanders. He played the entire 80 minutes but was later diagnosed with a fracture. He will be anxious to press his All Blacks claims in the Chiefs' remaining games before national coach Steve Hansen names his squad to face France.
PARIS - Marseille's English midfielder Joey Barton was handed a suspended two-game ban by the National Ethics Commission (CNE) yesterday in relation to a string of insults he directed at Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Silva last month. French football's ethics committee previously said it was unable to rule on Barton's comments because they had been made in English and not French. Barton had taken to his @Joey7Barton Twitter account to launch a tirade against Silva in which he called the Brazil centre-back a "pussy" and "a overweight ladyboy".