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                           | pdf edition | Saturday January 12 2013                                                       Sport
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Stoke City’s Jon Walters scores two own
goals to hand Chelsea easy win
Chelsea went third in the Premier League after Stoke’s Jon Walters
twice put the ball into his own net to set up a 4-0 win Page 2



Southampton’s Rickie Lambert puts the
skids under Aston Villa
A controversial penalty scored by Rickie Lambert secured a 1-0 win
for Southampton over Aston Villa Page 3



Daniel Sturridge is a gamble for Liverpool,
says Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson said Liverpool have taken a gamble by signing
Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea for £12m Page 4




Reading’s Pavel                              Owen Farrell lands                           Novak Djokovic eyes hat-        So Lance Armstrong, it’s
Pogrebnyak gets late                         11 kicks out of 11 in                        trick but sees big change       time to tell us how much
comeback winner                              Saracens win at Racing                       in rival Andy Murray            was true Page 9
against West Brom Page 5                     Métro Page 6                                 Page 8
                                                                                                                          Australian Open 2013:
Lance Armstrong plans                        European rugby                               The soap Oprah: what            Serena Williams refuses
to ‘confess to doping’                       roundup Page 7                               to expect from Lance            to accept favourite tag
on Oprah Winfrey show                                                                     Armstrong’s Winfrey             Page 10
Page 6                                                                                    interview Page 9




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Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: PO Box 68164, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1P 2AP
Page 2 G24 Sport                                                                 Saturday January 12 2013             22:16 GMT

                                                                    Jon Walters heading past his own goalkeeper from César
                                                                    Azpilicueta’s dipping cross. Juan Mata may or may not have
Stoke City’s Jon Walters scores two own                             scored had Walters left the ball alone, but for the previous few
goals to hand Chelsea easy win                                      minutes Stoke had been taking no chances, trying and generally
                                                                    succeeding in getting heads or bodies in the way of everything
Paul Wilson at the Britannia Stadium                                Chelsea could throw at them.
                                                                       Ashley Cole brought a save from Begovic at the start of
                                                                    the second half after Ba had done well to reach and control
                                                                    Lampard’s searching pass, but Chelsea kept inviting Stoke back
                                                                    into the game by needlessly giving the ball away, and when they
                                                                    stood off Steven Nzonzi just before the hour it took a good save
                                                                    from Cech to beat out a rising shot.
                                                                       Chelsea got even luckier a few minutes later. Andre
                                                                    Marriner pointed to the spot when Azpilicueta felled Matthew
                                                                    Etherington in the area, only to find the visitors reprieved by
                                                                    Sian Massey’s flag for offside.
                                                                       Replays showed there was not much in it, but confirmed the
                                                                    linesperson had been absolutely correct.
                                                                       Stoke’s luck ran out shortly after that, with the match settled
                                                                    by two more Chelsea goals in three minutes. The hapless
César Azpilicueta congratulates Frank Lampard after the
                                                                    Walters contributed the first from Mata’s corner, getting himself
midfielder’s penalty at Stoke put Chelsea 3-0 up. Photograph:
                                                                    into a tangle facing his own net under pressure from Lampard
Martin Rickett/PA
                                                                    and ending up getting in the way of the Chelsea captain but not
You have to hand it to Stoke: the spectators have an attitude as    out of the way of the ball. Perhaps, like Paul Scholes, Walters is
uncompromising as the players. Midway through the first half        just not cut out for getting back to help out his defence.
here, as the European champions attempted to slow the game             On Chelsea’s next visit to the Stoke penalty area Robert Huth
down by passing across midfield and patiently waiting for the       went through Mata from behind. Home defenders looked in
opportunity to play the killer ball, the home crowd struck up a     vain for any help from the referee’s assistant, leaving Lampard
chant of “Boring, boring”. As if stung by the enormity of being     to score emphatically from the spot.
so insulted in these parts, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba promptly          With the game safe Fernando Torres and then John Terry
combined to produce a moment of true quality and a shooting         joined the action, the latter to a rapturous reception from the
chance for Frank Lampard, who rather fluffed his lines by           Chelsea support.
allowing Asmir Begovic to save with his legs.                          Terry fouled Walters to give away the last-minute penalty
   Boring or not, Chelsea managed to deprive the Potters of         that the Stoke player all too predictably blasted too high,
their proud claim to be the last team in all four divisions with    prompting the visiting fans to pile on the misery by chanting
an unbeaten home record, proving that while Rafael Benítez’s        that Walters scores when he wants.
side might have been through a blip with defeats to QPR and            Fittingly, it was Hazard who had provided the true final
Swansea, they can still do it on a freezing cold Saturday in        flourish a few minutes earlier, neatly stepping inside a challenge
Stoke. Chelsea did not just end the record, they demolished it,     and beating Begovic from 25 yards with a stunning left-foot
and deserved to, though it always comes in handy when the           drive. Not even Stoke could call that boring.
home side chips in with two own goals from the same player,
who then goes on to miss a penalty.
   “It wasn’t our day today, it was Chelsea’s,” Tony Pulis
admitted. “Up until the second goal I thought we were the
better team but it just didn’t go for us.”
   That is not to suggest Chelsea had everything their own way.




                                                                      *
They would have been in trouble after just eight minutes had
Kenwyne Jones finished with more composure when a rebound
from an Andy Wilkinson shot left him with only Petr Cech
to beat. The goalkeeper stood up well but Jones still failed to
test him, rolling his shot inches beyond a post from the sort of      From Beirut to Big Brother,
position Stoke would spend the rest of the afternoon trying to
reproduce.
                                                                      Murdoch to Millionaire,
   Chelsea also took something of a physical battering, with          discuss the hot topics in the media
Hazard in particular on the receiving end of some meaty               on not one, but two blogs Organ
challenges, and naturally the more he protested to the referee
the more the crowd enjoyed it.
                                                                      Grinder and Greenslade
   “We knew it would be tough here,” Benítez said. “It was            blogs.guardian.co.uk/organgrinder/
intense and physical but we were ready for that.”                     blogs.guardian.co.uk/greenslade/
   After a shaky period in the middle of the first half, Chelsea
found their bearings and were beginning to get on top by the
interval, though it still took an own goal to break the deadlock,
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                     guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                   Saturday January 12 2013                22:16 GMT

                                                                     after this latest setback in the rapidly accelerating fall and fall of
                                                                     Villa.
Southampton’s Rickie Lambert puts the                                    Defeat against Southampton, their fellow relegation
skids under Aston Villa                                              strugglers, at a numbingly cold Villa Park took Villa into the
                                                                     coldest extremities of the Premier League. If the loss was not
Russell Kempson at Villa Park                                        as embarrassing as that at Valley Parade, against League Two
                                                                     opponents, it was damning nonetheless.
                                                                         Even a late rally, during which Nathan Baker nodded against
                                                                     the Southampton crossbar and Christian Benteke missed a
                                                                     host of chances, failed to mask Villa’s obvious frailties. They
                                                                     have scored one goal in their past six home matches and are
                                                                     plummeting faster than the temperatures in the west Midlands.
                                                                         Where do they go from here? Well, they could redress the
                                                                     balance when they take on Bradford in their second leg on 22
                                                                     January. Wembley still beckons. And perhaps also via a second
                                                                     route, with an FA Cup fourth-round tie to come with Millwall,
                                                                     of the Championship, on 25 January.
                                                                         Yet if their cup runs offer a welcoming and intermittent
                                                                     respite, it is in the bread-and-butter of the league that they
                                                                     need to improve. And drastically. And soon. With only Queens
Rickie Lambert punches the air after scoring the winner
                                                                     Park Rangers and Reading below, Villa are an accident waiting
for Southampton against Aston Villa. Photograph: Andrew
                                                                     to happen. Already, it would appear, they are in a sickly skid,
Boyers/Action Images
                                                                     utterly out of control. Villa offered little in the first half, with
Paul Lambert, the Aston Villa manager, may be feeling the            Benteke ploughing a lone, isolated furrow. But after Lambert
pressure as his side slid into the Premier League relegation         had coolly despatched the contentious spot kick, which
zone, but questions about his immediate future were                  separated the sides at half-time, Villa improved. Andreas
conveniently overshadowed by the latest in a series of “diving”      Weimann shot weakly at Artur Boruc, the Southampton
controversies. Discussion about the safety of Lambert’s tenure       goalkeeper; then after Boruc had saved smartly from Stevens’s
at Villa Park will have to wait for another day.                     piledriver, Benteke volleyed over the loose ball. Charles
    Instead, Lambert chose to criticise Mark Halsey, the referee,    N’Zogbia also had a chance but could not muster enough power
for awarding Southampton a penalty that clearly was not in the       to trouble Boruc.
34th minute. Jay Rodriguez, the Southampton forward, fell in             On a rare break, Southampton could have increased their
the home area, as Enda Stevens, the Villa left-back, prepared to     lead, but Puncheon’s long-range effort crashed against the
challenge him.                                                       crossbar. Cue the late Villa surge. But Benteke’s radar continued
    There was no contact – video replays confirmed that – but        to act up and Lady Luck again deserted Villa. No more “Zzzzzz”
Halsey, a late replacement for flu victim Chris Foy, pointed         for Lambert for some time yet.
to the spot. Rickie Lambert converted the 31st penalty of his
career, from 31 attempts, and Villa were condemned to a place
in the bottom three.
    “It was absolutely not a penalty,” Lambert said. “I’ve chatted
with Mark and he was adamant, 100%, that it was. But he’s
guessed, he’s got it wrong and he will be embarrassed when he
sees it. Referees have got to try to get the big decisions right.
You just can’t guess these things. I’m not going to get involved




                                                                       *
in calling anyone a cheat. But you can’t go down if you haven’t
been touched.”
    Nigel Adkins, the Southampton manager, concurred that it
was not a spot kick but absolved Rodriguez from having dived.
The player was trying to avoid a collision, Adkins claimed.
“There was no contact,” he said. “Jay was moving out of the
way. Otherwise, there would have been contact.                         Compare and buy
    “The challenge came in and Jay has evaded it. The referee
has a decision to make and he gave a penalty. I don’t think Jay
                                                                       Use our free independent
even appealed for one. I don’t advocate diving but we’ve not           comparison services to switch
been given seven or eight penalties this season so maybe what
goes around comes around.”
                                                                       suppliers and save money on
    When told of Adkins’s somewhat convoluted explanation,             all your household bills.
Lambert said: “Give me about four days to work that out. I just
don’t know how to answer.”
                                                                       guardian.co.uk/money/
    Lambert admitted to two sleepless nights after his side had        compareandbuy
succumbed 3-1 to Bradford City in the first leg of their Capital
One Cup semi-final last Tuesday. He might not sleep for a week
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Page  G24 Sport                                                                  Saturday January 12 2013              22:16 GMT

                                                                     everything.”
                                                                         Just as much of an asset on this particular occasion will
Daniel Sturridge is a gamble for                                     be the ability to keep calm under pressure. As Ferguson has
Liverpool, says Sir Alex Ferguson                                    pointed out, the “bloodthirsty” days of Steve McMahon and
                                                                     Norman Whiteside may have disappeared but the intensity of
• Ferguson believes £12m striker still has a                         these occasions can still catch the unprepared off guard.
lot to prove                                                             With Robin van Persie already reaching 20 goals and showing
                                                                     little sign of slowing, the key to victory for United would seem
• Sturridge could feature at Old Trafford on
                                                                     to lie in defence. Remarkably, should they avoid conceding
Sunday                                                               the first goal, it will be the first time they have done so in four
Press Association                                                    consecutive games all season. They even managed a couple of
                                                                     clean sheets before last week’s FA Cup thriller at West Ham.
                                                                     It is no surprise improvement has come now Nemanja Vidic,
                                                                     Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have reappeared after long-term
                                                                     injuries.
                                                                         In addition, Ferguson appears to have abandoned his
                                                                     goalkeeping rotation policy. David de Gea has appeared in eight
                                                                     successive games since displacing Anders Lindegaard for the
                                                                     Champions League match with CFR Cluj at the beginning of last
                                                                     month.
                                                                         Not that the Spain Olympic keeper has felt anything other
                                                                     than number one since his much heralded arrival from Atlético
                                                                     Madrid as Edwin van der Sar’s replacement in 2011.
                                                                         “From the moment I signed I always considered myself to be
                                                                     first-choice goalkeeper,” De Gea said.
Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring for Liverpool against
                                                                         “Obviously it is down to the manager. He does what he feels
Mansfield in the third round of the FA Cup. Photograph:
                                                                     is right and can rotate the keepers as and when he feels it is
Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
                                                                     good for the team.
Sir Alex Ferguson believes Brendan Rodgers has taken a                   “For me, it is just a case of keeping going in the same
punt on signing Daniel Sturridge for Liverpool. Having been          vein and working hard to hope that the good run I have had
left with only Luis Suárez as a regular striker when the last        continues.”
transfer window closed, Rodgers moved quickly in this one
to supplement his forward options. Sturridge is an England
international, but his four caps equal the number of clubs he
has played for, with a period on loan at Bolton in addition to
spells with Manchester City and Chelsea before his £12m move
to Anfield from Stamford Bridge.
    He could start alongside Suárez at Old Trafford on Sunday
but Ferguson feels his ability cannot be taken for granted. “The
big issue for Liverpool is whether they include new signing
Daniel Sturridge,” Ferguson told United Review. “Certainly the
arrival of Sturridge gives Brendan Rodgers more strength and
options up front. Sturridge has had a few clubs but I don’t blame
him for jumping at the chance of joining Liverpool because he




                                                                       *
just wasn’t playing regularly with Chelsea and I always rate
a player whose priority is wanting to play. Even so, his track
record moving between a number of clubs suggests Brendan
Rodgers is taking a bit of a gamble, but he clearly knows what he
is doing.”
    Ferguson has selection issues of his own to deal with, not
least whether to draft Nani and Anderson straight back into            The Guardian digital edition
his starting lineup after their recovery from their respective
hamstring strains. The likelihood is that both men will be on
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the bench at best, although Rio Ferdinand is glad to have them         exactly the way it was printed.
back. “They are both naturally talented footballers,” Ferdinand
said. “You don’t really get players who can beat opponents in
                                                                       With award-winning Guardian
the middle of the park these days. That is a good asset to have        photography accessible from
and is something Anderson has above anyone else. He can go             anywhere in the world.
past players and commit people.
    “Nani is the same. He is one of the most talented players I        guardian.co.uk/digitaledition
have played with. He is always a threat. He is quick, sharp and
shoots off both feet. He can cross the ball too so overall, he has
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                       guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                 Saturday January 12 2013             22:16 GMT

                                                                    season and it was a gut decision to take him off at the break. I
                                                                    always go with my gut.”
Reading’s Pavel Pogrebnyak gets late                                    Before the break, West Brom had opened the scoring when
comeback winner against West Brom                                   Lukaku exchanged passes with James Morrison, after winning
                                                                    an aerial battle in the centre circle, before slotting home the
Barry Glendenning at the Madejski Stadium                           midfielder’s low cross from the left after a gallop from halfway
                                                                    line to edge of the six-yard box. Showing the kind of rampaging
                                                                    form that will have Chelsea fans pining his return to Stamford
                                                                    Bridge, Lukaku threatened to run amok, hitting the far upright
                                                                    with a near-post header, rattling the crossbar with a surface-to-
                                                                    air screamer and having an effort disallowed for offside before
                                                                    notching his second: a low drive from distance that squeezed
                                                                    between what Gary Neville may label the “lazy legs” wafted by
                                                                    Jobi McAnuff and Adrian Mariappa.
                                                                        Twelve minutes later, Reading flicked the switch, prompting
                                                                    a deluge of unlikely goals. Having blown an excellent first-
                                                                    half chance with a leaden-footed first touch that had home
                                                                    fans groaning with despair, Kébé scored what looked like a
                                                                    consolation, taking advantage of a clever dummy by the tireless
                                                                    Pogrebnyak to stoop low and head home from close range at the
West Bromwich Albion’s Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring
                                                                    far post.
his team’s second goal at Reading. Photograph: Andrew
                                                                        Near the end of normal time, Reading looked to have secured
Matthews/PA
                                                                    an all but useless point when substitute Le Fondre coolly
A comeback as sensational as it had seemed unlikely earned          converted from the spot after a needlessly clumsy foul on Kébé
Reading all three points from a match that wasteful West Brom       by Jonas Olsson just inside the area. It wasn’t over.
should have won at their leisure. Romelu Lukaku looked to               Scarcely able to believe their luck, supporters who had
have hammered another couple of nails into the home side’s          booed their side off at half-time were left celebrating the
coffin, but Jimmy Kébé, Adam Le Fondre and Pavel Pogrebnyak         most unlikely and – whisper it – undeserved of victories when
spared the Royals’ blushes, scoring a goal apiece in the final 10   Pogrebnyak warmed the rapidly thawing cockles of their hearts
minutes to transform the mood in the Madejski Stadium from          by getting on the end of Alex Pearce’s knock down to deftly lift
outright hostility to bemused jubilation. Reading are still down    the ball over Ben Foster from seven yards out. His side remain
among the dead men, but entertaining reasonable hopes of            deep in the relegation mire, but not without reasonable hope
resuscitation.                                                      of self-extrication.
    For 80 minutes, this looked to be West Brom’s afternoon.
Man of the match Lukaku was rampant and will return to
the Midlands wondering how he didn’t double his brace. But
profligacy and sheer bad luck combined to keep his tally at




                                                                      *
two and allow Reading to steal victory on a bitterly cold day in
Berkshire.
    The lunchtime point secured by QPR meant Reading began
this match anchored to the bottom of the league, seven points
the wrong side of the safety cordon. Victory was crucial and
they could scarcely have asked for better opposition. Despite
their lofty status and undeniable quality, West Brom were             Eat right
missing several key players in Youssouf Mulumbu, Zoltan
Gera, Shane Long and Claudio Yacob, with the DR Congo
                                                                      Join the Guardian’s health and
international on duty at the Africa Cup of Nations and the rest       dieting club, Eat Right and
sidelined because of injury.                                          we’ll design you a personalised
    This talented quartet have made 61 Premier League starts
this season and their experience would surely have enabled            healthy eating plan from just
West Brom to hold on to their two-goal lead against opposition        £2.99 a week. Membership
that, for more than an hour, were woeful.
    Reading’s ranks, by contrast, had been bolstered … up to a
                                                                      includes shopping lists, menus,
point. Republic of Ireland international Stephen Kelly signed         expert advice and 24 hour
too late to make his debut at full-back, but the former Sporting
Lisbon captain Daniel Carrico became the first Portuguese to
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be named in their lineup. Having been guided through the pre-         your health and fitness goals.
match niceties by team-mates Ian Harte and Jobi McAnuff, he
endured a torrid 45-minute baptism and was promptly hooked
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at the interval, to be replaced by Garath McCleary. “He’ll be a
good player for us, don’t worry about that,” Brian McDermott
said of Carrico afterwards. “He hasn’t played much football this
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Page 6 G24 Sport                                                                 Saturday January 12 2013             22:16 GMT

                                                                    tens of millions of dollars – after Usada issued its report and
                                                                    he left the board of the Livestrong cancer-fighting charity
Lance Armstrong plans to ‘confess to                                he founded in 1997. He is still said to be worth an estimated
doping’ on Oprah Winfrey show                                       $100mm..
                                                                        Livestrong may be the motivating factor behind him wanting
• Cyclist to admit drug use throughout                              to issue an apology or make a confession. The charity supports
career, USA Today reports                                           cancer patients and still faces an image problem because of its
                                                                    association with its founder.
• Damage to Livestrong charity believed to
                                                                        The New York Times reported that Armstrong may make
be motivating factor                                                a confession in an attempt to return to competition in elite
Associated Press                                                    triathlon or running events, but World Anti-Doping Code rules
                                                                    state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years.
                                                                    Wada and Usada doping officials could agree to reduce the
                                                                    ban further depending on what new information Armstrong
                                                                    provides and his level of cooperation.
                                                                        Armstrong met with Usada officials recently to explore a
                                                                    “pathway to redemption,” according to a report by 60 Minutes
                                                                    Sports that was broadcast on Wednesday.



                                                                    Owen Farrell lands 11 kicks out of 11 in
                                                                    Saracens win at Racing Métro

                                                                    Racing Métro 28-37 Saracens
Lance Armstrong will be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey at
                                                                    Eddie Butler at the Stade de la Beaujoire
his Texas home on Monday with the show to be broadcast on
Thursday. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Lance Armstrong plans to admit to doping throughout his
career during his interview with Oprah Winfrey, according
to reports from USA Today. The interview, scheduled to be
recorded and broadcast on Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey
Network, will be conducted at Armstrong’s home in Austin,
Texas.
    Citing an anonymous source, USA Today reported that the
disgraced cyclist plans to admit using performance-enhancing
drugs, but is unlikely to reveal details of the allegations
outlined in a 2012 report by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada).
    That report led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven
Tour de France titles and banned for life from the sport.
Armstrong’s representatives declined to comment.                    Brits Schalk, left, is tackled by Racing Métro’s Alvaro Galino
    The New York Times first reported that Armstrong was            during Saracens’ match in Nantes on Saturday. Photograph:
considering making a confession. The 41-year-old, who               David Vincent/AP
vehemently denied doping for years, has not spoken publicly         In a quite extraordinarily resilient performance in the far
about the Usada report. That cast him as the leader of a            western reaches of France, Saracens took the match points and
sophisticated and brazen doping programme on his US Postal          the honours.
Service teams that included use of steroids, blood boosters and         In contributing 32 points, through 10 penalties and a
illegal blood transfusions.                                         conversion of their one try, Owen Farrell broke a record for most
    Winfrey’s network said that Armstrong had agreed to a “no       penalties in a Heineken Cup match and once again confirmed
holds barred” interview. A confession to Winfrey would come         what an ice-cold temperament he possesses. He landed 11 kicks
at a time when Armstrong’s legal troubles appear to be clearing     out of 11 attempts, the last a blast from wide out near halfway to
up. Any potential perjury charges stemming from his sworn           seal the win and deny Racing Métro a losing bonus point.
testimony denying doping in a 2005 arbitration fight with a             It was not all good news for the visitors. Or for England
Dallas promotions company over a contract bonus worth $7.5m         since David Strettle, picked as a left wing in Stuart Lancaster’s
have passed the statute of limitations.                             EPS squad for the Six Nations, was carried off on a stretcher
    Armstrong faces a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by his former    having been struck form behind by the swinging arm of Fabrice
team-mate Floyd Landis, which accuses him of defrauding             Estebanez.
the US Postal Service, but the US Justice Department has yet            Farrell’s coolness won the day but for a time it seemed that
to announce if it will join the case. The Sunday Times is suing     nobody on his side would be able to contain the collective
Armstrong to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel   might of Racing. Against a defence whose solidity had been
lawsuit.                                                            much admired in the build-up to the game, they scored three
    Armstrong lost most of his personal sponsorship – worth         tries in the opening quarter, two of them by the very rapid
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                      guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                   Saturday January 12 2013            22:16 GMT

wing, Juan Imhoff. There were two assists by the equally
impressive Sireli Bobo, who presumably has happy memories of
the Beaujoire having come on as a replacement in Fiji’s glorious
                                                                      European rugby roundup
2007 World Cup 38-34 win over Wales.
    The opening try involved handling skills on the surge from        • Biarritz ease past Zebre of Italy 32-6
two younger Fijians; Jone Qovu and No8 Sakiusa Matadigo.              • London Wasps trounce Mogliano 71-7
They ploughed and passed their way forward to allow Luc
                                                                      Staff and agencies
Ducalcon to plunge over in the sixth minute.
    The most eye-catching prop on display – the most
extravagant forward – was Eddy Ben Arous, a side-stepping
giant who was included in the French squad for the autumn
internationals but not the latest one for the upcoming Six
Nations. A few of the heavier brigade will be relieved not to see
him around for sure.
    If Racing’s wings were flying, it was not such a good day
for the two prospective England wings. Not that Strettle had
anything to do with his own misfortune. In the fourth minute
he was approaching the ball when he was struck from behind
– an echo of the Andrew Hore incident on Bradley Davies – and
was laid out cold. The citing commissioner, Eddie Walsh of
Ireland, may well be pursuing Estebanez, especially since he
was involved in a second tussle, taking Chris Ashton with an          Tom Varndell scores a try for London Wasps to completes his
off-the-ball tackle. Ashton reacted without actually going as far     hat-trick against Mogliano in the Heineken Cup. Photograph:
as throwing a punch and found himself sent to the bin.                Paul Harding/Action Images
    If he was an innocent party then, Ashton was patently at          Clermont Auvergne ran in six tries to secure their place in the
fault for the first of Imhoff’s tries, the ball bouncing a long way   knockout stages with a 46-3 bonus-point victory over Exeter.
forward when he failed to hold a catch off the boot of Sébastien      The French team led 20-3 at the break thanks to tries from
Descons. Matadigo picked up the ball and released bad boy             Wesley Fofana and Jean-Marcellin Buttin.
Estebanez, who in return delivered a scoring pass to Imhoff.              Exeter fought bravely following the restart but the pressure
    Add to the tries a penalty by Descons and the loss of             told and Clermont completed the job with touchdowns for
Will Fraser to the bin for 10 minutes for a late challenge on         Damien Chouly, David Skrela, Buttin and Napolioni Nalaga.
Hernandez, it would appear that Racing were doing exactly             The victory, Clermont’s 54th in a row at Stade Marcel Michellin,
that, racing away with the game. But Farrell was engaged in his       secures their place in the quarter-finals as Pool Five winners
one-man pursuit. Every time Saracens – and it was not often           and they can ensure a home draw in their final group match
– entered kicking range, they were awarded a penalty at the           against the Scarlets.
breakdown, and Farrell kept them in the hunt. At half-time they           Biarritz recorded a 32-6 win at Pool�Three whipping boys
trailed by just four points.                                          Zebre, with the Argentinian centre Marcelo Bosch scoring two
    It had not been all so very perfect for Racing. They had their    tries.
second row Qovu binned for an armless, late hit on Farrell and            Tom Varndell, the Premiership’s leading try scorer this
while the Fijian was away, Saracens overhauled that half-time         season who missed out on England selection last week, scored
deficit, Joel Tomkins sliding outside Henry Chavancy and              the fastest hat-trick in European history as London Wasps
putting Chris Wyles over. The set-piece play had come from            trounced the Italian side Mogliano 71-7 at Adams Park to book
a lineout in the 22, Hernandez having been pulled back for            their place in the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
kicking the ball out on the full from a pass outside the line.        The wing scored three tries in the first 13 minutes as Wasps,
    It was a sign of many little things going wrong for Racing.       unbeaten at home this season, crossed the line 11 times.
The hosts grew more ragged everywhere, whereas Mako
Vunipola, for example, came on and made a real difference
at the breakdown, pinching ball with perfect discipline. The
prop won the penalty and Farrell did the rest. Steve Borthwick
remained in the faces of the French forwards, mixing lineout
excellence with stinging little asides that obviously wound




                                                                        *
them up. It was an old head at work in the wasps’ nest.
    The game ended with Benjamin Noirot stamping all over
a Saracens pair of legs, being sent to the bin, from where he
watched Farrell land his last and longest penalty.
    Racing’s European campaign, that had started so brilliantly,        Are you getting the best deal on your
was over. Saracens still have the presence of Munster in the
                                                                        mortgage?
pool, but on this day in the far west of France they could not
have done much more.
                                                                        Compare over 8500 mortgages online to
                                                                        find the best deal for you.
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Page  G24 Sport                                                                    Saturday January 12 2013               22:16 GMT

                                                                          Djokovic, meanwhile, observed: “Australia is a country
                                                                      that nurtures tennis tradition, producing legends such as Rod
Novak Djokovic eyes hat-trick but sees                                Laver, Roy Emerson, Lleyton Hewitt, Pat Rafter. So fans are
big change in rival Andy Murray                                       always looking for somebody to follow up, and Bernard is right
                                                                      up there. He’s still only 20 years old and he’s already played
Novak Djokovic, the Australian Open                                   the quarters of a grand slam. He loves playing in Australia and
champion, said Andy Murray’s grand slam                               he showed on several occasions that, when he plays in the big
                                                                      matches, he has no fear. He knows what his mission is. I believe
win ‘switched something in his head’
                                                                      that is the right mindset.”
Kevin Mitchell in Melbourne                                               Last year, Tomic lost nine first-round matches and his
                                                                      off-court behaviour followed a grim, predictable pattern of
                                                                      mindless petulance as he tumbled down the rankings. Dropped
                                                                      from his country’s Davis Cup squad, he has responded well,
                                                                      returning to the Tour fitter than at any time in his young career.
                                                                      “I’m moving great, feeling great,” Tomic said. “That’s why I can
                                                                      play consistent tennis.”
                                                                          Victory over Anderson moved the Queenslander back
                                                                      into the top 50 ahead of another 20-year-old, the faltering
                                                                      American Ryan Harrison, and not far behind the excellent
                                                                      young Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. As much as they and 22-year-
                                                                      old Canadian Milos Raonic provide hope for the next wave,
                                                                      however, it would be a major surprise if any of them broke
                                                                      through here.
                                                                          Djokovic, striving for a third straight Australian title, remains
Andy Murray in Australian Open practice at Melbourne
                                                                      the betting favourite, ahead of Murray and Federer, who are
Park with his coach Ivan Lendl looking on. Photograph: Dita
                                                                      scheduled to meet in the semi-final, and, while there is little
Alangkara/AP
                                                                      to choose between players who split a Wimbledon title and
Novak Djokovic admits he is not Superman – a crumb of                 an Olympic gold medal, the Scot is looking strong coming off
comfort for his peers, perhaps, on his return to the scene of         a sound win over Dimitrov in the Brisbane final last weekend.
the most heroic performance of his career. However, while             Federer, visibly exhausted towards the end of 2012, has taken
he flew dangerously close to the sun here a year ago with an          one of the longest breaks of his career to prepare for the new
unforgettable performance to beat Rafael Nadal in the final           season and will be either underdone or ominously refreshed.
– following a similarly draining experience in his five-set semi-         Ivan Lendl, probably the coach of 2012 after helping Murray
final win over Andy Murray – the Serb is keen to remind us he         win his first slam title and the Olympic gold medal, is taking
does not relish reaching down that deep again to hold on to his       nothing for granted about Federer or anyone else as the world
Australian Open title.                                                No3 reaches for another major. But he did concede that Murray
     “As much as it was a pleasure to be part of such a classic       and Djokovic are capable of delivering the game’s next great
match and history and everything,” Djokovic said, “I think            rivalry.
nobody likes to spend nearly six hours on the court. I have to            “There are a lot of factors,” he said, “health, somebody else
come to the court serious and try to get the job done as quickly      coming up, Roger staying around, Rafa coming back – all those
as possible. It’s not going to be easy.”                              things. I am not saying it is going to happen, but I can see it
     If Djokovic’s reservations hint at old vulnerabilities, nobody   happening. A lot has happened in the past year, but I don’t look
will be taking liberties with a player whose ability to come          back, I always look forward.”
back strongly towards the end of long matches has come to                 What, though, has pleased him most about Murray? “Firstly,
define the flowering of his career over the past few years.           he kept working hard throughout the year. We knew he was
Nadal’s absence through injury does give the tournament a             a hard worker. And b), maybe even more, the honesty I came
different feel, and provides an opportunity for someone else to       in with – he takes it well. At times, that could be difficult.
inconvenience the leading group of Djokovic, Murray and Roger         However, you can get through things much quicker if you are
Federer.                                                              honest with each other. I like to operate that way, and Andy has
     Could that player be the “bad boy of Australian tennis”, as      been doing it as well.”
Bernard Tomic is destined to be demonised until there is more             Djokovic senses a change in Murray. “Something switched
sustained evidence that he has put his childish ways behind           in his head and he just started believing much more in his
him? It is a significant ask, although this most enigmatic of         abilities,” he said, “even though he was always a great player,
talents went a good way towards convincing his critics that he        always was a contender to win a major title. Now that he’s done
might finally be growing up when he beat Kevin Anderson 6-3           it, he’s definitely right up there, one of the first few favourites
6-7 6-3 to win his first ATP Tour title, the Apia International in    for any tournament he plays.”
Sydney on Saturday.                                                       Lendl’s trust in Murray extends to not worrying much about
     Tomic’s sometimes awkward demeanour was transformed              his first-round opponent on Tuesday, Robin Haase, but he
when he defeated Djokovic in the Hopman Cup this month                did add, “You never take anything for granted and you keep
and he is fairly bursting with self-belief. He will need all of       grinding all the way until it is over.” It is a philosophy to which
it if reaches the third round and a probable showdown with            Djokovic – a five-set winner here in 2012, then a five-set loser to
Federer, a match that could be the highlight of the first week..
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                          guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                  Saturday January 12 2013               22:16 GMT

Murray in New York – would gladly testify. I have a feeling that
Melbourne will be a happy place for Murray, who has shed tears
here in defeat but who, as Djokovic noticed, has new belief.
                                                                     So Lance Armstrong, it’s time to tell us
                                                                     how much was true
The soap Oprah: what to expect from                                  If the cyclist’s Oprah interview on Thursday
Lance Armstrong’s Winfrey interview                                  night in America rewrites 14 years of denial,
                                                                     serious apologies must follow
Judging from the chatshow host’s previous                            Observer Sport staff
confessionals, the cyclist’s interview will
prove to be a damp affair
Observer Sport staff




                                                                     Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de
                                                                     France titles but has yet to confess to any wrongdoing.
                                                                     Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey has seen many a troubled celebrity confess             ARMSTRONG ON DOPING
on her television chatshow. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/                   I have been on my deathbed, and I am not stupid. I can
REUTERS                                                              emphatically say I am not on drugs. I thought a rider with my
                                                                     history and my health situation wouldn’t be such a surprise. I’m
Will it be Humphreys versus Entwistle all over again? Frost/
                                                                     not a new rider. I know there’s been looking, and prying, and
Nixon? Maybe more Norton/Madonna.
                                                                     digging, but you’re not going to find anything. There’s nothing
   But it is worth staying up for? Certainly. Watching Oprah
                                                                     to find and once everyone has done their due diligence and
cuddle a scripted confession out of a troubled celeb and
                                                                     realises they need to be professional and can’t print a lot of crap,
“Oprahfying” their rough edges is landmark TV.
                                                                     they’ll realise they’re dealing with a clean guy. End of stage 14,
   Oprahfying? Involves a heady mix of patriotism, folksy
                                                                     Tour de France 1999
childhood memories, at least four moving montage packages
                                                                         Doping is an unfortunate fact of life in cycling, or any other
and tears. Lots of tears.
                                                                     endurance sport for that matter. Inevitably, some teams and
   Is crying essential? Compulsory. In 2008 Marion Jones cried
                                                                     riders feel it’s like nuclear weapons – that they have to do it to
at Oprah three times – once while reading out a letter she’d
                                                                     stay competitive within the peloton. I never felt that way, and
written to her children from prison. “Oprah, I didn’t love myself
                                                                     certainly the idea of putting anything foreign in my body was
enough to tell the truth.”
                                                                     especially repulsive. It’s Not About the Bike, 2000
   Did it work? ESPN called it “squirm-inducing”.
                                                                         This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push
   So what is Lance’s best-case scenario? Inner peace. Knowing
                                                                     it, study it, tweak it; listen to it. Everybody wants to know what
that after all the unfair, libelous witch hunts he’s finally had a
                                                                     I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my ass six hours
chance to shine the light of truth on his tortured, but ultimately
                                                                     a day. What are you on? Nike commercial, 2001
decent soul.
                                                                         The last thing I’ll say to the people who don’t believe in
   And the worst? Failure to perform. Can you take something
                                                                     cycling, the cynics and the skeptics: I’m sorry for you. I’m
to get the tear ducts flowing?
                                                                     sorry that you can’t dream big. I’m sorry you don’t believe in
                                                                     miracles. But this is one hell of a race. This is a great sporting




  *
                                                                     event and you should stand around and believe it. You should
                                                                     believe in these athletes, and you should believe in these
                                                                     people. I’ll be a fan of the Tour de France for as long as I live.
                                                                     And there are no secrets – this is a hard sporting event and
                                                                     hard work wins it. Announcing retirement after winning his
  Mystified by mortgages?
                                                                     seventh Tour de France, 2005
  Perplexes by pensions? Confused about                                  If you consider my situation: a guy who comes back from
  your consumer rights?                                              arguably, you know, a death sentence, why would I then enter
  Our experts are on hand to answer all                              into a sport and dope myself up and risk my life again? That’s
  kinds of financial and legal questions, so                         crazy. I would never do that. No. No way. On CNN’s Larry King
                                                                     Live, 2005
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                        guardian.co.uk
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                                    Saturday January 12 2013             22:16 GMT

ON INTIMIDATION                                                         people, liar. I’ve won six Tours. I’ve done everything I ever
   His accusations aren’t good for cycling, for his team, for me,       could do to prove my innocence. I have done, outside of
for anybody. If he thinks cycling works like that, he’s wrong and       cycling, way more than anyone in the sport. To be somebody
he would be better off going home. After chasing down and               who’s spread himself out over a lot of areas, to hopefully be
manhandling Christophe Bassons, a clean Festina racer who               somebody who people in this city, this state, this country, this
had condemned the race’s doping culture, Tour de France,                world can look up to as an example. And you know what? They
2000                                                                    don’t even know who David Walsh is. And they never will. And
                                                                        in 20 years nobody is going to remember him. Nobody. To the
   A guy like Simeoni, all he wants to do is to destroy cycling         writer Daniel Coyle, 2004
and for me, that’s not correct. He’s the kind of rider who attacks         Oprah Winfrey meets Lance Armstrong, Friday 2am GMT
the peloton and cycling in general. After chasing down a break          oprah.com tinyurl.com/5ltpv
to end Filippo Simeoni’s chances of winning a stage. Simeoni
had questioned Armstrong’s relationship with Dr Michele
Ferrari and outlined the doctor’s participation in his own              Australian Open 2013: Serena Williams
doping regime. Tour de France, 2004                                     refuses to accept favourite tag
ON THE UCI DONATION
    This is not my position or my modus operandi to advertise           • ‘I don’t think like that,’ says Serena
what I do. So, if I’ve done money to the UCI to combat doping,
                                                                        • Victoria Azarenka: Serena’s the main
step up controls and to fund research, it is not my job to issue a
press release. That’s a secret thing, because it’s the right thing
                                                                        threat
to do. Doping has existed for ever. It did not start in 1998. It        Kevin Mitchell in Melbourne
has existed since the first Olympics and probably even before.
There was always a way to go faster. And doping will never go
away. So this is an ongoing process and an ongoing fight. I think
we all have to be involved, either through our words or actions
or funding. Interview with Eurosport, 2005
ON WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY
    I’ve said it before and I will repeat it: I believe that I am the
most tested athlete on this planet, I have never had a single
positive doping test, and I do not take performance enhancing
drugs. At the end of the day, I don’t care what anybody says,
cycling has done more than any sport to fix its doping problem.
Responding to Dick Pound, the president of Wada, who had
said the public knew that riders in the Tour were doping, 2004
    The facts revealed in the independent investigator’s report         Serena Williams says everyone in the draw has to win seven
show a pattern of intentional misconduct by Wada officials              matches for the Australian Open 2013 title. Photograph:
designed to attack anyone who challenges them, followed by a            Narendra Shrestha/EPA
cover-up to conceal their wrongdoing. This conduct by Pound
                                                                        Serena Williams must know she is the favourite here and looks
is just the latest in a long history of ethical transgressions and
                                                                        as fit and as sharp as at any time since she resumed her hit-
violations of athletes’ rights. Calling for Pound’s dismissal
                                                                        and-run reign of terror in the women’s game last year. Yet she
from the International Olympic Committee after the Vrijman
                                                                        remains maddeningly obtuse, refusing to either embrace praise
report said Wada had pronounced Armstrong guilty of failing a
                                                                        or respond to the mildest of interrogation.
test in 1999 without adequate basis, 2006
                                                                            It was difficult to extract even a sand grain of insight from
ON THOSE WHO CHALLENGED HIM                                             her on the eve of the tournament , although she did say her
   It’s our word against his word. I like our word. We like our         sister, Venus, was “my least favourite opponent on the tour”,
credibility. Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago. After          loyalty that might owe as much to sisterly love as a hard reading
Floyd Landis had alleged doping had been systematic and                 of the evidence.
commonplace at the US Postal Team, 2010                                     Even though 32-year-old Venus – still coping with the
   When you’re on the witness stand, we are going to fucking            ravages of the auto-immune disease Sjogren’s Syndrome – did
tear you apart. You are going to look like a fucking idiot. I’m         win her first WTA tour in more than two years in Belgium at
going to make your life a living fucking hell. To his former            the end of 2012 and played well in the recent Hopman Cup, it
team-mate Tyler Hamilton after he had announced that he was             is fanciful in the extreme to picture her returning to anywhere
cooperating with Usada’s inquiry, 2011                                  near the level that made her No1 in the world 10 years ago. But
   It’s 100% fabricated. [She is motivated by] bitterness,              Serena insisted, “She’s playing a lot like me. It’s not so fun to
jealousy and hatred. On the testimony of Betsy Andreu, wife of          play that.”
former team-mate Frankie, 2007                                              Her more perverse judgment might be declining to agree
   Pissed at me, pissed at Johan [Bruyneel, managing director           with the broad consensus that, as other contenders struggle
of US postal], really pissed at Johan, pissed at the team.              and her own game hits a ruthless peak, she is widely favoured
Why Emma O’Reilly, former team soigneur, had spoken of                  to win her sixth Australian title. “I don’t think like that,”
Armstrong’s doping to David Walsh in LA Confidentiel, 2005              she said. “I feel like I have to win seven matches. Everyone
   Fucking Walsh, fucking little troll, casting his spell on
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                         guardian.co.uk
Page 11 G24 Sport                                                      Saturday January 12 2013   22:16 GMT

in this draw has to win seven matches. They have the same
opportunity to do it as I do.”
    It is a view that would seem to wilfully confuse the concepts
of “opportunity” and “likelihood”. A poll of the field would
return a near-unanimous verdict that the Williams sister players
want to avoid is the fourth seed Serena, not 24th-ranked Venus.
    Serena should not be much troubled at the start of her
fortnight, playing the Romanian Edina Gallovits-Hall first up,
with Laura Robson a possible opponent on her side of the draw
in the quarter-finals.
    The official No1 seed and defending champion, Victoria
Azarenka, struck a more realistic note about her prospects and
said Serena – whom she was unfit to challenge properly in the
Brisbane semi-final because of a toe injury – was obviously her
main threat. “Yeah, I think so,” she agreed. “Everybody tries to
beat the top players. When I wasn’t No1, I was feeling the same
way. You get more excited.”
    Azarenka, whose first stumbling block here could be the
former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki in the quarters, said she
did not regret retiring in Brisbane. “There is nothing I could
possibly do to make it happen. I just had to let it go. I think I
made a very good choice. I’m feeling good right now. I don’t feel
any pain when I play. I still have to tape [the toe] but there is no
problem.”
    While Williams affects detachment from her considerable
achievements, Azarenka has not lost the hunger or the wonder.
Winning the title in 2012 changed her life and her tennis. “It
gave me a lot more self-belief,” she said.
    “I always thought of myself as a really good player and that
mental edge made the difference. It definitely helped to bring
a lot of inner confidence to my game. The feeling I had was
incredible – and I want to feel it again. This is what motivates
me even more every day. It’s amazing, when I achieved my
dream, my goal, how much more motivated I was after that.”
    She admitted being No1 had its unique pressures. “To
maintain the level is probably harder than it is to get there
because you have to be consistent.
    “You’re going to have ups and downs, but I always look to
improve my game, improve myself as a player. Results come
first for me. Trophies and the rankings are something that
follow that.”
    So, two players of contrasting mood, attitude and experience
at the top of the game, an acknowledged great and one who
might become one, are scheduled for another semi-final
collision. This time, there ought to be resolution, although it is
still difficult to see past Williams winning the tournament.




guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                               guardian.co.uk

				
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