SPORTS NEWS IN BRIEF
STOKE-ON-TRENT, England - Wayne Rooney was unavailable to play in Manchester United's League Cup quarter-final at Stoke City on Wednesday due to an unspecified injury, manager David Moyes revealed. Rooney played for 84 minutes in United's 3-0 win at Aston Villa on Sunday, but he was left out of the squad for the trip to the Britannia Stadium, with Danny Welbeck leading the line as a lone striker.
MADRID - Real Madrid reached the last 16 of the Copa del Rey with a comfortable 2-0 win over Olimpic Xativa at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday. Without the injured Gareth Bale and suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti gave a number of his younger players another chance to impress despite being held to a 0-0 draw in the first-leg 10 days ago.
MARRAKECH, Morocco - Home-grown midfielder Mouhssine Moutouali converted an 84th minute penalty to help ensure Raja Casablanca became only the second African team in history to reach the Club World Cup final as they defeated Brazilians Atletico Mineiro 3-1. The Moroccan champions equal Congolese club TP Mazembe and now face European champions Bayern Munich in Saturday's final in Marrakech.
MADRID - Argentina's four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi's recovery from a torn hamstring is on schedule, his club Barcelona confirmed on Wednesday. Messi was ruled out for the rest of the year when he suffered the latest in a number of recent muscle injuries in Barca's 4-1 win over Real Betis at the beginning of November.
HAMILTON - New Zealand will bowl first in the third Test against the West Indies after winning the toss in Hamilton. Fresh from their comprehensive innings and 73-run win at the Basin Reserve the home side have named an unchanged side for the final Test of the series which they lead 1-0.
PARIS - A double by Paris Saint Germain's Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani eliminated French League Cup holders St Etienne 2-1 from this season's competition after extra-time of their Last 16 clash on Wednesday. Cavani gave the hosts the lead in the first-half only for former PSG striker Turkish international Mevlut Erding to level in the second period to force extra-time.
LONDON - Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl will renew rivalries at the Australian Open in a month's time — 23 years after Melbourne Park played host to their last ever meeting in a grand slam final. Becker was on Wednesday named as the new head coach of world number two Novak Djokovic in a move that mirrors Andy Murray's appointment of Lendl two years ago.
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates - Pakistan's interim cricket chief Najam Sethi has reiterated his stance to revive ties with arch-rivals India, saying his team was ready to go across the border. India stalled all bilateral ties with Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai.