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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Suarez makes winning return to action with new club Barca

Sports Shorts: Suarez makes winning return to action with new club Barca

August 19, 2014 12:01 IST

Sports Shorts: Suarez makes winning return to action with new club Barca

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Luis Suarez made his first appearance following his biting controversy for new side Barcelona and Neymar scored twice as the Spanish giants beat Mexican side Leon 6-0 in a pre-season friendly on Monday.

Suarez, named as a substitute at the Nou Camp, came on for the final 15 minutes in what was his first action since being banned for biting Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay's World Cup game with Italy on June 24.

The striker was initially banned from all football activities for four months, but an appeal hearing last week allowed him to train with Barca and play friendlies.

Suarez, who cost Barcelona a reported 81 million euros ($108m) from Liverpool, will not be allowed to play a competitive game for his new club until after his ban ends at the end of October.

Attacking partner Neymar returned after fracturing a vertebra for Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals against Colombia, and he coolly lifted the ball over keeper William Yarbrough for Barca's second after Lionel Messi had headed home the opener.

Neymar flicked in another before half time, and after the break substitute Munir El Haddadi netted twice and Sandro Ramirez, another youth product, completed the scoring a minute from time.

It was a new-look Barcelona that took to the field against Leon following an overhaul of the side for the La Liga season, which starts this weekend.

Next: Ballmer gets ovation from Clipper Nation


Image: Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona competes for the ball with Luis Delgado of Club Leon
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images

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Max Verstappen to become youngest ever F1 driver

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Dutch 16-year-old Max Verstappen is set to become Formula One's youngest ever driver after the Toro Rosso team announced on Monday that he will replace Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne in their lineup next year.

Verstappen, son of former grand prix racer Jos, turns 17 only next month and is still too young to take a driving test in the Netherlands.

Even when he does turn 17, he will still have to wait a year before he is allowed to drive unaccompanied on public roads at home.

The sport's youngest driver to date is Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari, who made his debut with the same Red Bull-owned team in 2009 at the age of 19 and 125 days.

Alguersuari - whose arrival was questioned by some on safety grounds - was then discarded at the end of 2011 and reluctantly left the sport at an age where few others had even broken into it.

Verstappen has already built up an impressive resume, however, after starting in go-karts at the age of seven and comes from a racing family.

He has won a string of karting titles, including the world championship at the age of 15, and is currently challenging for the European Formula Three title.

"We consider Max to be one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation and we believe he has the necessary maturity and mental strength to take on this challenge successfully," said team principal Franz Tost in a statement.

Verstappen will partner Russian Daniil Kvyat, who made his debut with the team this year at the age of 19 years and 324 days.

Next: Max Verstappen to become youngest ever F1 driver


Image: Max Verstappen
Photographs: Courtesy: Max Verstappen/Twitter

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With Sterling saga over, Ballmer gets ovation from Clipper Nation

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With his trademark top-of-the-lungs, high-fiving, rambunctious enthusiasm, former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer introduced himself to Los Angeles Clippers fans on Monday, promising a new era for the NBA team after former owner Donald Sterling was banned for life over racist remarks.

Ballmer, 58, who paid an NBA-record $2 billion for the Clippers, greeted the several thousand gathered at the team's Staples Center home with the primal screams that punctuated meetings at the Seattle technology company.

"I couldn't be more honored or excited or fired up to be here," Ballmer exclaimed as he was welcomed with a standing ovation.

Ballmer, who said he will be a courtside fixture at games, took over the Clippers last week, ending Sterling's 33 years of ownership that were marked by decades of losing and second-tier status to local rival, the Lakers.

The NBA banned Sterling for life in April, days after his privately taped remarks imploring a girlfriend not to publicly associate with black people were published.

The remarks, which were publicized during the Clippers' playoff run, sparked public outrage, prompted sponsors to cut ties with the team and caused Clippers players, who are mostly black, to consider a boycott.

The 80-year-old real estate billionaire also unsuccessfully fought in court to keep the team after his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, struck the deal with Ballmer.

"Everything is about looking forward," Ballmer told the crowd, striking a tone about new beginnings for a team that finds itself for the first time as a playoff contender behind superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

Next: Adler spares Hamburg blushes


Image: New owner of the Los Angeles Clippers Steve Ballmer reacts to the fans after being introduced for the first time during Los Angeles Clippers Fan Festival at Staples Center
Photographs: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

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Adler spares Hamburg blushes but Schalke humbled

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Hamburg SV keeper Rene Adler saved two spot kicks in a shootout to help the Bundesliga club overcome third division Energie Cottbus 4-1 on penalties and advance into the German Cup second round on Monday.

Fellow Bundesliga club Schalke, however, crashed out in a 2-1 defeat to third-tier Dynamo Dresden.

Former Germany international Adler came to the rescue after Hamburg had failed to break the resistance of their lower-ranked opponents in a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes.

The former European champions, who needed a relegation playoff to remain in the Bundesliga last season, trailed 1-0 from the 10th minute until Heiko Westermann levelled an hour later.

The Bundesliga club thought they had finally done enough to win it when Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart, who had set up the equaliser, curled in a free kick in the first half of extra time.

Cottbus' Sven Michel levelled in the 105th minute to take the game to penalties, where Adler saved Michel's spot kick and that of Fabian Pawela to save Hamburg's blushes.

Schalke, who will play in the Champions League this season, tumbled out of the competition at the first hurdle against Dresden with a poor performance.

A goal in either half gave the hosts, banned from the competition last season due to repeated crowd trouble, a two-goal lead before a 78th minute Joel Matip goal gave Schalke hope.

Julian Draxler tried to force the equaliser by dribbling past three players in stoppage time, but he saw his effort saved and Dresden celebrated a winning return to the competition.

Holders Bayern Munich advanced comfortably 4-1 against Preussen Muenster on Sunday to join last season's runners-up, Borussia Dortmund, in the second round.


Photographs: Courtesy: Max Verstappen/Twitter

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