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Sports shorts: Tendulkar to be 'main attraction' at Bahrain GP

Last updated on: March 24, 2014 19:41 IST

Sports shorts: Tendulkar to be 'main attraction' at Bahrain GP

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Sachin Tendulkar will be in the visitors’ gallery to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix next month.

Bahrain's first-ever Formula One night race will be held at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir from April 4 to 6.

Tendulkar, who retired from all forms of cricket last year, will travel to Manama with his family at the invitation of Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, reported Gulf Daily News.

Leading Bahraini businessman Mohammed Dadabhai, who is a friend of the cricketer, confirmed the visit.

"This is great news that will bring both Bahrain and India closer, as the cricketing idol has accepted the invitation to visit Bahrain to attend this year's Formula One race," Dadabhai was quoted as saying.

"There is no doubt that Sachin Tendulkar, who is visiting with his family, will be one of the main attractions of this major event and we are happy that the most popular cricketer in the world is visiting Bahrain," he added.

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Image: Sachin Tendulkar with daughter Sara and son Arjun
Photographs: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

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Marquez wins Qatar opener after duel with Rossi

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MotoGP's youngest World champion Marc Marquez won the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday after a thrilling duel in Doha with the old master of motorcycling, Italian Valentino Rossi.

Starting from pole position at the Losail circuit only six weeks after he broke his leg in a training accident, the 21-year-old Spaniard crossed the finish line a mere 0.259 of a second ahead of the 35-year-old great.

Dani Pedrosa, Marquez's teammate and compatriot, was a distant third.

Marquez's leg, fractured when he fell off a dirt bike near his home last month, had been the rider's biggest worry with the Spaniard barely able to walk a week ago but he looked comfortable throughout.

In the end it was the resurgent Rossi, seven time a champion in the top category of motorcycling but seemingly entering the twilight of his career, who posed the biggest threat of the night.

Starting from 10th place on the grid, the Italian was leading after nine laps with early leaders Jorge Lorenzo and Stefan Bradl both crashing out into the gravel in a shower of sparks.

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Image: Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team celebrates the victory on the podium at the end of the MotoGP race
Photographs: Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

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Mahindra miss podium by whisker at Qatar GP

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Mahindra Racing rider Miguel Oliveira missed podium in the season-opening race by just by 0.015 seconds, as he settled for a fourth place.

In a thrilling climax, under floodlights at the Losail circuit, the first five riders crossed the finish line within 0.369 of a second, with the leader of the next group just two-tenths behind.

Oliveira, who claimed the only Indian manufacturer slot in MotoGP’s first podium last season, had qualified on the fourth row, but showed his race-craft as he got away with the leading group, then gradually picked his way to the front of a high-class gang disputing third.

By the finish the riders had all closed up and the fight was for the lead. Oliveira was third as they came onto the long finishing straight, but with five riders all slipstreaming and fighting for advantage, he narrowly lost the position over the line.

New Mahindra rider Arthur Sissis was forced to withdraw from his first race for the team, after suffering a savage attack of tonsillitis. Still suffering in morning warm-up, the team withdrew the Australian before the start.

Mahindra fields not only two MGP3O machines in the official team, but this year also six more machines supplied to private teams. The best finisher was Brad Binder, securing a point in a fighting 15th place.

"To be honest, I didn’t expect this result. I always felt confident on the bike but I was having some problems in one section, and qualifying on the fourth row was pretty bad.

"I was hoping to get away with the front group, and from the start I just tried to keep up, to wait and see what would happen at the end. On the last lap I tried everything, but with this long straight it was very hard to get the podium. But it was a crazy race, and I am happy with my performance," Oliveira said.

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Image: Mahindra Racing rider Miguel Oliveira during the Qatar MotoGP


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Bayern ordered to partially close stadium against Man Utd

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Bayern Munich have been ordered to close part of their stadium for the Champions League match at home to Manchester United next month for "discriminatory behaviour" by their supporters, UEFA said on Monday.

Bayern will have to shut "Sector 124" of the Allianz Arena for the quarter-final second leg on April 9, UEFA said, although they gave no indication of which part of the stadium that section is located in or how many seats will be affected.

UEFA said fans showed "an illicit banner" during the round of 16 tie at home to Arsenal earlier this month. It declined to give more details about the cause of the ban, although media photographs showed a group of fans with a homophobic banner aimed at Arsenal.

The German club have also been fined 10,000 euros, UEFA said.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich central defender Dante has extended his contract with last season's treble winners by a year to 2017, the club said on Monday.

The Brazil international, who joined from Borussia Moenchengladbach in 2012, enjoyed huge success in his first season by winning the Bundesliga and German Cup double as well as the Champions League.

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Image: Bayern's Franck Ribery of France (right) celebrates with teammates Arjen Robben (left) and Dante after scoring against Wolfsburg during their German Bundesliga match in Wolfsburg, on Saturday
Photographs: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

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Matt Every clinches first PGA Tour victory

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An emotional Matt Every clinched his first PGA Tour victory in dramatic fashion when he surged past a faltering Adam Scott to win the $6.2 million Arnold Palmer Invitational by one stroke in Florida on Sunday.

"It's tough man. You just never know if it's going to happen," a teary-eyed Every told NBC after edging fellow American Keegan Bradley at Bay Hill in Orlando.

Australian Scott, the Masters champion, finished third.

Every, who started the final round four strokes behind Scott, charged to the front with four birdies in a sizzling five-hole stretch around the turn.

The 30-year-old built a three-shot lead, before bogeying the 16th and 18th holes, missing a five-footer at the last that opened the door for Bradley.

Bradley, however, missed a 30-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff, while Scott finished two shots behind after a 76. Nobody in the top 25 shot a worse final round.

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Image: Matt Every of the United States holds the trophy as he celebrates with his wife Danielle and son Liam after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational
Photographs: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

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Hoffenheim stun Leverkusen 3-2 with late goal

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Bayer Leverkusen lost more ground in their fight for a top three finish after twice coming from a goal down before conceding an 89th minute goal to lose 3-2 to Hoffenheim on Sunday for their fifth defeat in the last six league games.

Frenchman Anthony Modeste tapped in a minute from the end to snatch the winner and leave Leverkusen in fourth place on 44 points, six behind the last automatic Champions League spot, currently held by Schalke 04.

Hoffenheim, eager to take revenge for a controversial defeat earlier in the season, stunned the hosts with an audacious penalty from Sejad Salihovic, who chipped the ball straight into the middle of diving Bernd Leno's goal.

Leverkusen, who had no real chance to score until then, levelled with a well-timed Stefan Kiessling header from an Emir Spahic cross in the 39th minute.

Kiessling, who took his league goal tally to 12, also scored in their win over Hoffenheim earlier in the season, a shot that turned out to have slipped through the side netting, triggering calls for the introduction of goalline technology.

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Image: Anthony Modeste
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

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Mexican stadium closed after fans riot; 17 arrested

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Guadalajara city authorities closed the Jalisco stadium on Sunday after fans clashed with police leaving close to 40 people injured and 17 arrested after the local derby.

Fans of the Guadalajara Chivas, who had earlier lit dozens of flares, fought a running battle with outnumbered police on the upper terraces of the stadium near the end of Saturday's 1-1 draw with bitter city rivals Atlas.

Television footage showed police helmets and truncheons flying through the air and officers pushed down the terraces by fans wearing red and white striped Guadalajara shirts.

"We're going to proceed according to the regulations. After revising the evidence we're going to close the building," Jesus Lomeli, general secretary of Guadalajara town hall, told reporters.

Lomeli said 17 people were arrested and media published photos of seals on the gates of the stadium in the city 530 km west of Mexico City with the word "Closed" on them.

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) expressed its support to Guadalajara city authorities in their search for the culprits.

Guadalajara took an early lead through striker Aldo De Nigris but Paraguayan Jose Ortigoza equalised in the 72nd minute for home side Atlas.

The Chivas are seventh in the Clausura championship standings with 17 points from 12 matches and Atlas 12th with 14.

Leaders Cruz Azul were held to a 0-0 draw at title holders Leon, who had Mexico's veteran World Cup captain and former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez sent off in the closing minutes for a second booking.

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Image: File picture of Mexican fans in the stands
Photographs: Kent Horner/Getty Images

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Del Potro confirms surgery on injured wrist

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Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro has confirmed he is to have an operation on his injured left wrist, which is likely to sideline him for most of the rest of the season.

The Argentine world number eight, whose career was severely disrupted by surgery on his right wrist in 2010, pulled out of the Sony Open last week and posted a message on his Facebook page.

"Following new examinations done today, my doctor Richard Berger decided that I should have surgery to fix the problem on my left wrist," it read.

"Obviously, it's not the easiest choice or the happiest moment of my career.

"I experienced a similar situation and I know how hard it is to be out of the tour, the desire to return, the endless weeks of recovery and how difficult it is to start fighting for the top spots in the rankings again."

The 25-year-old started the year by winning his 18th ATP title at the Sydney International but since being upset in the second round of the Australian Open by Roberto Bautista Agut has managed to play just four matches at two tournaments.

The decision to have the surgery will be a major blow to the 2009 US Open champion, who, when fully fit, has the ability to contend at the very top of the game.

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Image: Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters

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Inter hit woodwork four times, lose in last minute

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Luckless Inter Milan hit the woodwork four times and then conceded a last-minute goal in a 2-1 home defeat by Atalanta in Serie A on Sunday that left their hopes of finishing in the Champions League places in tatters.

Giacomo Bonaventura, who had put Atalanta in front in the first half, scored with a header to give his side a second consecutive away league victory against Inter after they won 4-3 in the San Siro last season.

Udinese beat relegation battlers Sassuolo 1-0 after both teams missed penalties and Sampdoria thrashed Verona 5-0, with their second goal coming after the ball struck the referee.

Atalanta went ahead in the 36th minute when Bonaventura finished off Maxi Moralez's counter-attack, only for Argentine forward Mauro Icardi to equalise one minute later after running on to Fredy Guarin's pass.

Inter dominated the second half as Guarin smashed a long-range effort against the crossbar and Rodrigo Palacio sent a header against the foot of the post.

That was followed by an incredible double miss in the 85th minute when Jonathan's shot rebounded off the bar to Icardi whose point-blank range effort was blocked by a defender and struck the post.

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Image: Fredy Guarin of FC Inter Milan and Mario Yepes of Atalantacompete for the ball
Photographs: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

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Monaco's title challenge in tatters after Lille draw

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Monaco's Ligue 1 title challenge all but ended when they drew 1-1 with at home to Lille on Sunday to leave them 10 points adrift of leaders Paris St Germain.

Divock Origi cancelled out Mounir Obbadi's early opener as second-placed Monaco moved to 63 points with eight games left.

French champions PSG have 73 after beating Lorient 1-0 away on Friday. Lille remained third on 54 points and occupy the Champions League qualifying third round spot, three points ahead of St Etienne who beat Sochaux 3-1 on Sunday.

At Louis II, Monaco started without Joao Moutinho who suffered a groin injury while warming up.

Obbadi replaced him and had an immediate impact as the 30-year-old midfielder opened the scoring after five minutes, latching on to Valere Germain's back pass inside the box.

Jeremy Toulalan, who was back from suspension, came close to doubling Monaco's tally in the 20th minute when his low 20-metre drive went just wide.

Six minutes before halftime Origi tapped in at the far post from Ryan Mendes's cross to put Lille back on level terms.

Dimitar Berbatov, who created two and scored one last weekend for Monaco, fought hard up front but his 69th-minute header went just over the bar.

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Image: Mounir Obbadi of Monaco in action
Photographs: Harry Engels/Getty Images

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Atletico can't slip up to have Liga title chance: Gabi

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Atletico Madrid will need to win all nine remaining La Liga matches if they are to have a chance of pipping city neighbours Real and champions Barcelona to the title, according to captain Gabi.

Atletico's 2-0 win at bottom side Real Betis put them level on 70 points with Real at the top but their local rivals can restore their three-point advantage with a win at home to Barca, who are third on 66 points.

"We are feeling very strong, every day stronger," midfielder Gabi, who scored Atletico's opening goal at Betis's Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, told reporters.

"We have a lot of faith in the team as a group and we are working every day to keep pace with the top teams," he added.

"We have nine finals ahead of us and if we want to be up there at the top we have to win them all."

Atletico's impressive season under coach Diego Simeone means there is a genuine chance a team other than Real or Barca will win La Liga for the first time since Valencia were champions 10 years ago.

If Atletico and Real finish level on points, Atletico will take the title as they have a better head-to-head record thanks to this month's 2-2 draw at the Calderon and a 1-0 win at the Bernabeu in September.


Image: Gabi of Club Atletico de Madrid in action
Photographs: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

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