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Sports Shorts: Maradona claims he was barred from Maracana

Last updated on: June 19, 2014 00:13 IST

Sports Shorts: Maradona claims he was barred from Maracana



Not even the 'Hand of God' could open the doors to a packed Maracana stadium for Argentina's World Cup game against Bosnia.

After Pele revealed that he had to listen on the radio in his car to the first half of Brazil’s 0-0 draw with Mexico on Wednesday, due to being stuck in traffic, Diego Maradona has claimed that he was refused entry to a game.

Maradona, who notoriously used his fist to score a goal that helped knock England out of the 1986 World Cup, told Argentine television that he was denied entry to the Group F clash at the Maracana stadium in Rio on Sunday.

The 53-year-old World Cup winner has been working as a television pundit during the tournament but said he was unable to take a seat.

“I was not allowed to go in to the game,” he told TyC Sports. “So I had to return to the hotel to see the second half. I did everything I could but they would not let us in.

“Someone just said no, it could not happen, so I had to watch it on TV. Hopefully we will get this resolved because I want to go and see Argentina in several more games.

“It is one thing to not be able to go to a game, and another to not be allowed to go. When there is goodwill, you’re allowed in but when there is ill will, it’s better to forget it and head back to the hotel, which it’s what we did.”

Image: Diego Maradona
Photographs: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images


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A FIFA spokesperson said they had not been formally informed of any problem involving Maradona.

“We have not received any report. I read the news article and we double-checked. As long as he is going in with the right media access (on his accreditation) there shouldn’t be any issue,” said the spokesperson.

 “Maybe he went somewhere where he didn’t have the necessary access but we have no record of it, we have not received anything from him or anybody else."

Argentina’s next game is against Iran in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.

Pele was one of many who missed the first half of Brazil’s match against Mexico on Tuesday after being caught in traffic as fans rushed to get home before kickoff.

"For the first time I had to listen to the first half of a Brazil game inside a car, we were stuck in traffic," the Brazilian soccer great told Globo TV.


Image: Pele
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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EPL champions Manchester City meet Newcastle on opening day

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Manchester City will open the defence of their title with a trip to Newcastle United after the English Premier League released the fixture list for the 2014-15 season on Wednesday.

Manuel Pellegrini's side, who claimed a second title in three seasons, have been handed a tough start to their campaign, hosting Liverpool in the second week, followed a fortnight later by a trip to Arsenal and then a home fixture against Chelsea.

Chelsea travel to newly promoted Burnley on the first day of the season, August 16, followed by a home match to Championship winners Leicester City, who start life in the top-flight at home to Everton.

The other promoted side, Queens Park Rangers, host FA Cup runners-up HullCity in their first match, while Tottenham Hotspur will seek revenge for three defeats to West Ham United last term when they travel to east London on opening day.

Last season's runners-up Liverpool host Southampton in Ronald Koeman's first match in charge, while fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal's Manchester United host Swansea City.

Manchester City host Southampton on May 24, the final day of the season, while Arsenal host West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea host Sunderland, Manchester United travel to Hull and Liverpool visit Stoke City.

Opening day fixtures: Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Burnley v Chelsea, Leicester City v Everton, Liverpool v Southampton, Manchester United v Swansea City, Newcastle United v Manchester City, Queens Park Rangers v Hull City, Stoke City v Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur (all matches 1500 local time and are subject to change).

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Image: Vincent Kompany of Manchester City lifts the Premier League trophy
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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Indonesia Super Series: Saina wins; Sindhu, Srikanth, Kashyap lose

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Three-time champion Saina Nehwal started her campaign on a positive note with a straight-game demolition of Thailand's Porntip Buranaprasertsuk but it was early exit for P V Sindhu, K Srikanth and P Kashyap in the $ 750,000 BCA Indonesia Super Series Premier in Jakarta on Wednesday.

A winner of the tournament in 2009, 2010 and 2012, Saina continued her good run after showing glimpses of coming back to form during India's Uber Cup campaign as she brushed aside World No 9 Porntip 21-15, 21-10 in the women's singles competition to register her seventh win over her Thai opponent.

Olympic bronze medallist, Saina will next take on Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour, who edged past Sayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-19, 19-21, 22-20 in another match.

World No 10 Sindhu, however, failed to cross the opening hurdle as she lost 24-26, 17-21 to third seed and Olympic silver medallist Yihan Wang of China in a 47-minute match.

In the men's singles, there was nothing but heartbreaks for India as both Kashyap and Srikanth lost their hard-fought first round battles against World No. 4 Kenichi Tago of Japan and 37th ranked, Chen Yuekun of China respectively.

While Kashyap, ranked 20th, squandered a one-game advantage to go down 21-19, 8-21, 22-24 against fourth seed Tago, Yuekun got the better off World No 23 Srikanth 21-12, 17-21, 21-16 in another match.

Srikanth had also lost to Yuekun during 2010 India Grand Prix in Hyderabad.

Image: Saina Nehwal

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Gatlin races to new 100m world best in Ostrava

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American Justin Gatlin improved his own world-leading 100m time at the Golden Spike meeting in the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

The 2004 Olympic champion won in 9.86 seconds in Ostrava, bettering his previous best of 9.87.

The 32-year-old now has the four fastest times of 2014 to his name.

Fellow American Mike Rodgers was second in 10.08 ahead of veteran Kim Collins, of St Kitts and Nevis, third in 10.12.

Image: Justin Gatlin of the United States
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images

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