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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports shorts: Anand lets Andreikin off the hook; maintains full point lead

Sports shorts: Anand lets Andreikin off the hook; maintains full point lead

Last updated on: March 27, 2014 21:40 IST

Sports Shorts: Anand lets Andreikin off the hook; Tevez keeps Juventus on course

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Indian ace Viswanathan Anand let Russia's Dmitry Andreikin off the hook as he settled for a draw to maintain a full-point lead in the Candidates Chess tournament in Khanty Mansiysk on Thursday.

It turned out to be an exciting day for Anand who had things running for him once again. The five-time World champion benefitted from results on other boards to maintain his lead with just two rounds to play in the tournament that decides the challenger for the next World Championship match.

Armenian Levon Aronian failed to break the ice against Russian Vladimir Kramnik and drew, while Azeri Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's wild opening choice also ended up giving him just a half point against Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

The other game of the day ended decisively in favour of Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, who avenged his earlier loss in the tournament against Peter Svidler of Russia.

Anand, on 7.5 points, continues to be ahead of Levon Aronian, who is on 6.5, a half point clear of Karjakin and Mamedyarov.

The other four participants, Svidler, Topalov, Andreikin and Kramnik, have 5.5 points each and are out of contention for a first place finish.

Courage sometimes is a quiet voice that says I will come back and try again tomorrow. This was typically Anand's game and the Indian ace showed tiredness for the first time in the tournament.

The Caro Kann defense met with a usual 'Classical' treatment from Anand and after a big error by Andreikin on the 24th move, Anand was clearly on top. Not missing out on anything initially, Anand calculated deep and correct to win a piece by force.

However, after reaching the time control, the position had repeated twice and Anand took a practical decision to repeat instead of going for the victory that was there for the taking.

"I was already feeling very tired, the game had taken a lot of energy and I was not able to find the win and I decided not to tempt fate", said Anand in the post game conference.

When insisted if he should have carried on the Indian was quite candid, "I can count the points, a win today would have been much better for me in the tournament but I could not, I just took a practical decision."

For the record, the Indian needs to score one point in the last two games to win the tournament. In the next round after the fourth and final rest day, Anand has black pieces against Karjakin and then in the final round he will play with white against Svidler.

Anand has never lost against both in Classical chess.

Results, round 12:

V Anand (Ind, 7.5) drew with Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 5.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 6.5) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 5.5): Veselin Topalov (Bul, 5.5) beat Peter Svidler (Rus, 5.5).

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Image: Viswanathan Anand
Photographs: FIDE

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Tevez keeps Juventus on course after record home run

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Two goals in seven minutes from Carlos Tevez kept Juventus on course for a third successive Serie A title with a 2-1 win over Parma which ended the away side's 17-match unbeaten run and set a record of 15 successive home wins in a season.

Argentine Tevez struck in the 25th and 32nd minutes to go back to the top of the Serie A scoring charts with 18 goals and extended Juve's lead to 14 points after AS Roma had cut the gap to 11 with a last gasp 2-1 win over Torino on Tuesday.

"It wasn't easy against Catania at the weekend and it wasn't easy against Parma either. These are the sort of wins that win you the league," said Tevez, who will miss Sunday's trip to Napoli (1945 GMT) after being booked.

"I would like to have been there on Sunday. I don't like not playing."

Cristian Molinaro pulled a goal back for a spirited Parma just after the hour mark but they lost Amauri to a red card for apparently elbowing Giorgio Chiellini in an aerial challenge almost immediately afterwards.

"It gives me satisfaction to see how we played with 10 men, even if I think the red card was a bit excessive," said Parma boss Roberto Donadoni.

"I don't think we showed the same grit and determination in the first half that we showed in the second, but the reaction was good both in terms of determination and quality, which is encouraging."

Defeat for Parma left them sixth, level on 47 points with fifth-placed Inter Milan, who host Udinese on Thursday.

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Image: Carlos Tevez (right) of Juventus is tackled by Gabriel Alejandro Paletta of Parma FC during the serie A match at Juventus Arena in Turin, Italy on Wednesday
Photographs: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

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Australian Neill's World Cup quest takes him to Doncaster

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Former Australia captain Lucas Neill has taken a short-term loan to play for English Championship strugglers Doncaster as he continues his desperate bid for selection to a third World Cup.

The 36-year-old former Millwall, Blackburn and West Ham defender joined Watford in England's second tier last month but managed only a handful of minutes on the pitch.

Dumped from the Socceroos' squad for their 4-3 friendly loss against Ecuador earlier this month, the 96-cap Neill, a veteran of Australia's 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals campaigns, will join Doncaster initially for a month, the club said on its website (www.doncasterroversfc.co.uk).

Doncaster are 20th in the Championship, eight points clear of the drop zone.

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Image: Australian footballer Lucas Neill
Photographs: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

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Juve move up to 81 points

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Atalanta are four points behind the pair after a 2-0 win over 18th-placed Livorno, their fifth victory in a row, thanks to goals from Giuseppe De Luca and German Denis.

Lazio slipped to eighth with a 2-0 loss at Genoa.

Antonio Conte's Juve moved up to 81 points and stayed 20 ahead of third-placed Napoli, who beat bottom side Catania 4-2 in a thrilling game in Sicily.

Rafael Benitez's team raced into a 4-0 halftime lead thanks to a double from Duvan Zapata, a tap-in from Jose Callejon following a comical defensive mix-up and a stunning volley from Henrique.

"We did very well in attack, but leading 4-0 at half-time made it difficult to maintain concentration," said Benitez.

"Our objective continues to be reaching Roma in second. We have to do our work, continue winning and see where we end up. After the Juve game this weekend we'll have only one match per week and that will make it easier for us."

Napoli are now 10 points ahead of fourth-placed Fiorentina, having lost to Vincenzo Montella's side in Naples at the weekend, thanks to AC Milan, who relieved the pressure on their under-fire manager Clarence Seedorf with a 2-0 win in Florence.

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Image: Jose Callejon (left) of Napoli celebrates the seocnd goal wth his teammate Lorenzo Insigne during the Serie A match against Calcio Catania at Stadio Angelo Massimino in Catania, Italy on Wednesday
Photographs: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

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Milan remain in 12th place

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Milan remain in 12th place on 39 points after a 23rd-minute header from Philippe Mexes and a delicate Mario Balotelli free kick just after the hour mark secured their first league win in five games, offering Seedorf a stay of execution after reportedly being given two matches to save his job.

"A lot of false things were said. I am open to criticism as long as it is constructive, but what I see here is the intention to create controversy by spreading lies disguised as fact," said a visibly angry Seedorf after the win.

"Those people who wrote certain things about me have to deal with their own conscience, because mine is clear.

"I tried to keep the players focused on the game, but it was impossible not to be aware of what was being said outside."

Cagliari were the big winners at the bottom of the table, taking advantage of Livorno's defeat by beating Hellas Verona 1-0 with a bullet Nene header and moving up to 32 points, eight clear of the drop zone.

They are five ahead of Chievo Verona, who inched three points away from from the bottom three with a thumping 3-0 win against Bologna.


Image: Mario Balotelli of AC Milan in action against ACF Fiorentina during the serie A match at Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence, Italy on Wednesday
Photographs: Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

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Bundesliga: Leverkusen end barren spell with victory over Augsburg

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Bayer Leverkusen revived their hopes of playing top European football next season after beating Augsburg 3-1 on Wednesday to secure their first win in seven league games courtesy of two late goals.

Stefan Kiessling slotted in his 13th goal of the campaign after 11 minutes before Tobias Werner levelled for the battling hosts on the hour.

South Korean Son Heung-min struck against the run of play with Leverkusen's first chance of the second half to reclaim the lead in the 80th before Emre Can gave them a two-goal cushion to cut the gap to third-placed Schalke 04 to four points with Leverkusen fourth on 47.

"It is kind of a strange feeling with our last win so long ago," Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno told reporters.

"We had a lot such games in the first half of the season where we were not the best team but still won."

The win, however, was a big relief for coach Sami Hyypia, who was under mounting pressure after five defeats in their previous six league games.

Borussia Moenchengladbach's hopes of a top-four finish and a chance to play in the Champions League were hit when they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt to remain sixth on 42.

At the other end of the table, Nuremberg's Swiss international Josip Drmic struck twice to take his goal tally to 15 and help his team beat VfB Stuttgart 2-0 to move up to 14th spot on 26 with their opponents tumbling to 17th place on 24.

Hamburg SV remained in the relegation playoff spot after their 1-1 draw against Freiburg as they battle to avoid their first relegation since the introduction of the Bundesliga in 1963.

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Image: Bayer Leverkusen's Simon Rolfes and Stefan Kiessling (right) celebrate a goal
Photographs: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

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Platini asks FIFA to ban third party owners

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The practice of players being owned by secretive agents, businessmen or investment companies out to make a quick buck is not only damaging soccer but is an affront to human dignity and must be halted, UEFA president Michel Platini said on Thursday.

He called on FIFA to outlaw the practice worldwide and praised the English FA for being the first to ban what are called "third party ownership" transfers.

Platini highlighted what he said was one of the greatest threats to the game's integrity when he opened the 38th UEFA Congress in the futuristic capital of the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan.

With FIFA president Sepp Blatter sitting in the front row of delegates at the Palace of Independence, Platini said: "If FIFA fails to act, we will address this issue in our own competitions in Europe.

"The UEFA Executive Committee has already adopted a position on this issue in principle, and we will see this through.

"I do not want to be complicit in these practices, and at the moment I have the nasty feeling that I am."

Platini, one of the world's greatest all-time players during his glittering career in the 1970s and 1980s when he won titles with France and Juventus, said he had gone on strike when he was a player, but the issues facing players today were far worse than what he had to endure.

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Image: Michel Platini


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'Quite simply, some players are no longer in control of their own sporting careers'

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Platini told delegates from all 54 member associations: "I am thinking, here, of a problem which particularly worries me, that is the third party ownership of players, or TPO as it is sometimes known.

"I have been constantly warning for years that this practice, which is becoming increasingly widespread, is a danger to our sport.

"It threatens the integrity of our competitions, damages football's image, poses a long-term threat to clubs' finances and even raises questions about human dignity.

"When I was a player, I went on strike because players belonged to their clubs and therefore failed to enjoy real freedom.

"Today, players are certainly not the property of their clubs, but something worse is happening instead.

"Increasingly, players are owned by opaque companies based in tax havens and controlled by some unknown agent or investment fund.

"Quite simply, some players are no longer in control of their own sporting careers and are transferred each year to generate revenue for anonymous individuals who just want to get their hands on some of the money in football.

"The English FA were the first to recognise the dangers of this practice and the moral and ethical problems that it poses. As a result they banned third party ownership.

"They acted swiftly and decisively, and I congratulate them on that. However, this is a global problem, and the issue should be regulated at global level."

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Image: Sepp Blatter, FIFA president and Mohamed bin Hammam, ex-president of the Asian Football Confederation during a press conference at the 2002 AFC Congress
Photographs: Stanley Chou/Getty Images
Tags: Platini , TPO

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Injured Valdes doubtful for World Cup

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Spain goalkeeper Victor Valdes is in serious danger of missing this year's World Cup in Brazil after suffering a knee ligament injury during Barcelona's victory over Celta Vigo on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old was making a routine block from a free kick when he appeared to twist his knee and was carried off after 23 minutes.

"Tests have confirmed that the player has a torn cruciate knee ligament in his right knee that will require surgery," a club statement said.

Valdes has been in excellent form this season and his injury is a serious blow for Barca as they fight a three-way battle for the La Liga title.

No timescale has been given for his recovery but he is likely to miss the rest of the domestic season and he is very doubtful to make the Spanish squad for their World Cup defence.

Valdes's contract with Barcelona ends in June and he has said he wants to move to another club for next season. 


Image: Victor Valdes of FC Barcelona lays injured during the La Liga match against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou in Barcelona on Wednesday
Photographs: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

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