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Sports shorts: United striker Van Persie out for up to six weeks

Last updated on: March 22, 2014 14:54 IST

Sports shorts: United striker Van Persie out for up to six weeks



Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will be sidelined for up to six weeks after spraining his knee in the midweek Champions League win over Olympiakos Piraeus, the club said on Friday.

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The Dutch international is to miss the Premier League derby at home to title-chasing Manchester City on Tuesday and next month's Champions League quarter-final against holders Bayern Munich.

"Robin van Persie has a sprained knee which will keep him out for around four to six weeks," United said on their website.

The 30-year-old was injured in the 90th minute of the 3-0 victory over Olympiakos at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

He left the field on a stretcher having scored a hat-trick to give United a 3-2 aggregate win.

The Premier League champions, in seventh place in the table, visit West Ham United on Saturday.

Image: Manchester United's Robin van Persie leaves the pitch on a stretcher
Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuters


Juventus flying the flag for beleaguered Serie A

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Juventus face a Europa League quarter-final with Olympique Lyon knowing it is down to them to restore pride in Serie A, which has lost its shine after its top clubs were once again left licking their wounds in Europe.

The Serie A champions are the last Italian team standing in either the Champions League or the second tier Europa League after Napoli, AC Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina all fell by the wayside in one or both competitions.

The league that used to be considered the toughest in the world is flagging in the face of competition from the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and German Bundesliga.

The poor showing by Italian clubs on the continent over recent seasons led to Serie A losing its fourth Champions League spot to Germany in 2012.

Now there are fears they could be overtaken in UEFA's coefficient rankings by Portugal, who have two teams left in the Europa League after Benfica beat England's Tottenham Hotspur and Porto knocked out Napoli 3-2 on aggregate.

It was a sour end for Rafael Benitez's side who were unlucky to have fallen into the Europa League after finishing their Champions League group level on 12 points with Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.

Italian champions Juventus were also handed a second chance in the Europa League after a disappointing showing in the Champions League where they lost their crucial final group stage match to Galatasaray on a horrendous pitch in Istanbul.

While Juve are Italy's best-supported club and the most successful domestically, it is seven-times European Cup winners AC Milan who usually fly the Italian flag abroad.

Most Italian clubs play in ageing stadiums, almost all of which are owned by local authorities rather than the clubs themselves, and attendances are down after a series of repressive ticketing measures designed to curb hooliganism.

Only Juventus have a modern arena on a par with those found in England or Germany, while AS Roma are set to reveal plans for a new ground next Wednesday.

Juventus know that winning this year's title would go some way to restoring some prestige to a famous footballing nation.

Image: Juventus players celebrate
Photographs: Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

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Motta lands knockout blow as PSG secure eighth win in row

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Paris St Germain's march towards a second consecutive Ligue 1 title continued on Friday when a Thiago Motta goal secured a 1-0 win at Lorient, their eighth straight victory in all competitions.

The result put the champions on 73 points from 30 games, 11 ahead of Monaco who host third-placed Lille on Sunday.

The only downside for coach Laurent Blanc's PSG came when captain Thiago Silva left the field midway through the first half after sustaining a facial injury in a mid-air clash with Lorient forward Vincent Aboubakar.

The Brazil centre back was replaced by compatriot Alex who sparkled alongside Marquinhos in defence.

PSG, who were drawn against Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals earlier in the day, went ahead four minutes before the break when Zlatan Ibrahimovic's shot was parried by Fabien Audard into the path of Motta and he poked the ball home.

Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic,centre, of PSG speaks to teammates Thiago Silva and Marquinhos
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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Brazil to declare no-fly zone over World Cup stadiums

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The Brazilian Air Force will declare no-fly zones over World Cup stadiums to prevent terrorist attacks during this year's soccer tournament, but there's a catch: it can't shoot down intruders, for now.

By law, Brazil's military can only shoot at unresponsive civilian planes on drug trafficking routes near its borders, but not over densely populated urban areas where games will be played in 12 cities.

The Air Force is asking the Brazilian government to change the shoot-down law to allow effective defense of the air space during the 64 games of the June 12-July 13 global soccer tournament, said Air Force Brigadier Antonio Carlos Egito at a news conference on Friday.

The suspension will begin one hour before games kick off and last for 4 to 5 hours, though take-offs will not be restricted. They do not affect the country's main international airports.

The suspensions will mostly disrupt flights at Rio de Janeiro's domestic airport Santos Dumont and complicate the logistics of Brazilian carriers that have already sold 3,000 seats on flights that will have to be canceled.

The good news for soccer fans trying to follow their teams from one game to the next is that only 10 percent of seats have been sold on Brazilian domestic flights during the World Cup, ANAC president Marcelo Guaranys said.

Image: The official mascot of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, Fuleco the Armadillo, is seen on a float
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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FIFA has $1.4 billion cash pile to fall back on

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FIFA has increased its cash pile to $1.432 billion (£849.12 million) after making a profit again last year, justifying the sum as a safety net should a World Cup have to be cancelled.

Income from television rights and marketing deals ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil helped to drive up revenues to $1.386 billion, world soccer's governing body said on Friday, reporting a surplus of $72 million last year.

Many Brazilians are angry at the amount of money their country is spending on hosting the World Cup, saying they would rather have "FIFA standard" schools and hospitals and there are fears of protests around the tournament in June-July.

FIFA executive committee members are also facing renewed scrutiny over the awarding of the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

The controversies have not deterred sponsors who want to be associated with the world's biggest sporting event. Credit card company Visa and sportswear group Adidas have both recently signed new deals with FIFA.

The winners of the World Cup will receive $35 million, part of a $576 million payout to participating countries and the clubs whose players appear at the tournament.

Image: FIFA World Cup trophy
Photographs: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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