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Oldham dump Liverpool out of FA Cup
after Matt Smith double
Matt Smith scored twice for Oldham Athletic as the League One
strugglers stunned Liverpool 3-2 at Boundary Park in the FA Cup
Page 2

Leeds United’s spirit sends Tottenham
tumbling out of FA Cup
Luke Varney and Ross McCormack scored to seal a shock win for
the Championship side against Tottenham Page 3

Fernando Torres saves Chelsea from FA
Cup humiliation at Brentford
Fernando Torres scored with seven minutes left as Chelsea twice
came from behind to draw 2-2 with League One side Brentford
Page 4

Saracens christen                            Alastair Cook rues                           FA Cup roundup                  Taiho obituary
new home’s artificial                        missed chances as                            Page 9                          Page 10
turf by beating                             England head home
Cardiff Blues Page 5                         from India Page 7                            Hurricane Fly’s Irish
                                                                                          Champion Hurdle
Andy Murray finds                          ‘Chopra Case’ race-                          win primes him for
Novak Djokovic too                           fixing exposed but                           Cheltenham Page 9
strong in Australian                         this is no tip of an
Open final Page 6                            iceberg Page 8 © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                         
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: PO Box 68164, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1P 2AP
Page 2 G24 Sport                                                                   Sunday January 27 2013              21:16 GMT

                                                                    Manchester City in the next week, with only Steven Gerrard,
                                                                    Stewart Downing and Lucas Leiva of his available first choices
Oldham dump Liverpool out of FA Cup                                 rested on the bench. Yet they were behind before putting
after Matt Smith double                                             one pass together and served up a feeble performance that
                                                                    supported their manager’s recent protestations about a lack of
Andy Hunter at Boundary Park                                      leadership in the Liverpool ranks. Physically, they were also
                                                                    found wanting as Dickov’s decision to deploy Robbie Simpson
                                                                    alongside the towering Smith allowed Oldham to dominate
                                                                    Sebastián Coates, Jack Robinson and Martin Skrtel in the
                                                                    visiting defence.
                                                                        Only two minutes had elapsed when Youssouf M’Changama
                                                                    retrieved Lee Croft’s sliced shot on the left and delivered an
                                                                    inviting cross towards the back post. Smith steamed in above
                                                                    Coates, as was to become the norm, and his downward header
                                                                    beat Brad Jones despite Skrtel’s attempted clearance on the
                                                                    line. That was to be M’Changama’s last contribution before his
                                                                    afternoon was ended by a challenge from behind by Raheem
                                                                    Sterling, who received a yellow card and escaped another
                                                                    shortly afterwards for a pull on Jean-Yves M’Voto.
                                                                        The former Everton trainee and boyhood Liverpool fan
Oldham celebrate a famous victory. Photograph: Phil Noble/
                                                                    Jose Baxter went close from distance as Oldham combined
                                                                    tidy approach play with their aerial bombardment. Liverpool’s
The final whistle sounded on a shocking defeat in every sense       response had been minimal but they were back on level terms
for Liverpool and Paul Dickov was swept into an emotional           on the first occasion Luis Suárez was afforded space to run at
embrace by Paul Gerrard, one of the few members of the              the home defence.
Oldham coaching team not placed on gardening leave before               Suárez, handed the captain’s armband for the first time,
Christmas. Dickov’s backroom staff have been decimated, and         roamed inside from the left and regained possession from
his own future at Boundary Park is in jeopardy even after this      Cliff Byrne following an attempted through ball into Daniel
glorious high, but in that touchline clinch Dickov found the FA     Sturridge. A measured finish sailed through the arms of
Cup does not distinguish between the downtrodden and the            Oldham’s keeper, Dean Bouzanis, to give the Uruguay
aristocracy. How Oldham merited this release.                       international his 21st goal of the season.
    Liverpool arrived at Boundary Park having agreed an £8.5m           Briefly, the equaliser brought composure and a touch of
fee with Internazionale for Philippe Coutinho and a day after       Premier League superiority to the Liverpool display. Suárez
Brendan Rodgers’s 40th birthday celebrations. They were             thought he had scored a second with a glancing touch to a
abruptly, rudely curtailed in the fourth round by a tireless        Jordan Henderson free-kick but was given offside, and Bouzanis
performance from a League One side who have slipped towards         denied Sterling following a swift exchange involving Suárez
the relegation zone after taking one point from their previous      and the dreadful Fabio Borini. But then the physical threat from
eight games and are reliant on television revenue from this tie     Oldham restarted, and Liverpool folded weakly.
to keep going.                                                          Jones saved Smith’s header towards his top corner from
    The on-loan Manchester City defender Reece Wabara scored        Baxter’s free-kick but Dickov’s team continued to press
what proved the winning goal but no player encapsulated the         throughout first-half injury time and retook the lead courtesy
Oldham display better than the rampaging centre-forward Matt        of a poor slip by Liverpool’s stand-in keeper. Wabara, who
Smith.                                                              prospered from right-back all afternoon, drove in a low but
    A non-league player 18 months ago, his previous brush           routine cross to the near post that Jones fumbled straight to
with fame came from playing football with the comedian              Simpson. His mis-hit shot rolled across goal and perfectly for
Jack Whitehall at university, where he studied for a degree in      Smith, a former player with Solihull Moors, to double his tally
international business management. He will be remembered            from unmissable range.
for much more in Oldham after his two first-half goals punished         Borini squandered a glorious chance to level moments
a lightweight, lamentable approach from the visitors from           after the restart and that assumed greater significance when
Anfield.                                                            Oldham extended their advantage from their next attack. Carl
    Oldham had covered the pitch in a protective bubble and         Winchester, M’Changama’s replacement, swung over a deep
appealed to supporters to help clear the snow to ensure the tie     cross from the left and Wabara rose above Robinson to send a
went ahead. They were rewarded with a full-blooded, feisty          looping header in off the far post.
and fully committed display that showed the “26-hour working            Liverpool were staring at humiliation and Rodgers
days” that Dickov has put in since his coaches departed has         responded by introducing Gerrard and Downing from the
rubbed off on his players. This was their chance to impress         bench. Sturridge shot over from close range after Gerrard’s shot
before a national audience and, from their intent to pummel         had been blocked and, with Oldham losing Simpson and Smith
Liverpool into submission from the very start, they were            to injury, the latter to a jarred shoulder, the home side had no
evidently in the mood to seize it.                                  outlet to relieve the pressure. It eventually told with 10 minutes
    For Rodgers, this was an abject humiliation a stirring finale   remaining when Joe Allen’s volley from a Gerrard corner took a
could not cover. The Liverpool manager selected a strong,           huge deflection off Baxter to beat Bouzanis.
recognisable line-up despite having trips to Arsenal and © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                           
Page  G24 Sport                                                                    Sunday January 27 2013                21:16 GMT

    Allen had another goalbound effort deflected just wide,          after McCormack had made it 2-0, ensured it would be a
Gerrard struck the crossbar from 30 yards and Liverpool pressed      nerve-shredding finale but, overall, it was an undistinguished
in search of a reprieve. It never came. Dickov had his day.          afternoon for Spurs. Scott Parker’s display, indefatigable in
    Man of the match Matt Smith (Oldham)                             midfield, should make him exempt from criticism and Gareth
                                                                     Bale was a formidable opponent once he stayed closer to the
                                                                     left wing in the second half rather than trying to run the game
Leeds United’s spirit sends Tottenham                                from every position.
tumbling out of FA Cup                                                   This, however, was a scruffy Spurs performance. They
                                                                     can pass the ball a lot better and play with far better control.
                                                                     Perhaps this was the moment, too, when their luck ran out. All
Daniel Taylor at Elland Road
                                                                     season they have been trying to scrape by with only two natural
                                                                     strikers. Emmanuel Adebayor’s involvement in the Africa Cup
                                                                     of Nations had left Jermain Defoe as the last man standing but
                                                                     the England international was missing here because of a hip
                                                                         How Tottenham must wish it had been him on the end
                                                                     of their one clear chance to snatch a replay. Instead, the
                                                                     opportunity fell for the substitute, Jon Obika, who waited a
                                                                     fraction too long to get his shot away. Lee Peltier’s saving tackle
                                                                     was brilliantly executed, as they had been all game.
                                                                         Tottenham’s ordeal had begun after a quarter of an hour
                                                                     when Michael Brown hooked an innocuous ball forward and
                                                                     suddenly Varney was running free on the left and making a
                                                                     beeline for goal. Kyle Naughton and, to a lesser extent, Steven
Ross McCormack scores Leeds’ second goal against Tottenham           Caulker had both been caught out after Diouf dangled out his
at Elland Road. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images         leg and made no contact. The ball ran through and Varney
By the end, it was a reminder of those days when Elland Road         ignored the temptation to square for McCormack, opened up
would consider this kind of result as the norm rather than the       his body and angled his shot past Brad Friedel.
exception. Leeds United had played with the competitive spirit           Varney’s finish was so impeccably delivered it felt like a trick
for which they were once renowned and, though a club this            of the mind that the 30-year-old has repeatedly threatened to
size might not take too kindly to being described as giantkillers,   exhaust the patience of the Elland Road crowd this season. He
there was still something fairly heroic about the way they           signed from Portsmouth last June and marked his debut, in
bridged the gap with Tottenham Hotspur and sent the Premier          their first match of the season, by scoring one of the goals in a
League side toppling out of the FA Cup.                              4-0 defeat of Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup. The problem
    They were helped, undoubtedly, by the inability of several       was he did not manage another in his next 18 appearances. All
Tottenham players to grasp two things. One, the importance           things considered, he took his goal with remarkable confidence.
their club place on this competition as eight-time winners.              Leeds could have been further ahead before half-time,
Two, that a Leeds side managed by Neil Warnock would always          Friedel saving at McCormack’s feet at the end of the first half,
cherish the possibility of cutting a top-division team down          but Tottenham’s vulnerability in defence continued after the
to size – and would be willing to cover every blade of glass to      interval. Five minutes in, Gylfi Sigurdsson lost the ball in the
achieve it.                                                          Leeds half. Diouf released McCormack and when he turned
    Yet Leeds did not win just because their players were quick      inside Caulker, on the right-hand corner of the penalty area, it
to the ball, strong in the tackle and showed all the qualities       became apparent there was nobody to help him. McCormack
associated with the classic FA Cup underdog. There was some          took the only option that was really on, letting fly with his left
refined football at times from the Championship’s 11th-              foot. It was a wonderfully taken shot that was still rising as it hit
placed side and the decisive goal, from the left boot of Ross        the net.
McCormack, was a beauty.                                                 Dempsey’s header came from Bale’s cross and, for 25
    McCormack had played as though on a personal mission to          minutes, the Welshman tormented the Leeds right-back Sam
show that Luciano Becchio’s absence need not matter. Warnock         Byram. One nutmeg, followed by an outrageous piece of skill,
had dropped his leading scorer in response to the Argentinian        saw him sprinting away from three opponents. Yet Spurs did
submitting a transfer request last week. The man who took his        not play with the urgency that might have been expected for
place was Luke Varney, whose lack of goals in his first season at    a team needing to score. For the most part, they also had two
Leeds has made him the subject of derision at times. Yet it was      players, Dempsey and Sigurdsson, playing in attack despite
Varney’s purposeful run and clinical finish that gave Leeds the      being midfielders by trade. Leeds took advantage to remind
lead and invigorated their self-esteem.                              their crowd of better times.
    As for El Hadji Diouf, he had one of those games that made           Man of the match Ross McCormack (Leeds United).
you wish he could have avoided those incidents that condemn
him as one of the more reviled figures in football. Between the
three of them, the Championship attackers were a constant
menace for their top-tier opponents.
    Clint Dempsey’s clever, twisting header, eight minutes © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                               
Page  G24 Sport                                                                     Sunday January 27 2013              21:16 GMT

                                                                       their biggest home crowd in three decades and on a pitch that
                                                                       was the leveller of cup lore.
Fernando Torres saves Chelsea from FA                                      Believe it or not, Chelsea paid for the surface to be seeded,
Cup humiliation at Brentford                                           as part of the deal that allows their under-21s to play here
                                                                       sometimes and they felt it cut up badly. Brentford seek to
David Hytner at Griffin Park                                          get the ball down and play but, as Chelsea battled to come to
                                                                       terms with the bobbles, Uwe Rösler’s team revelled in their
                                                                           Ross Turnbull epitomised the Chelsea edginess. In for
                                                                       the injured Petr Cech, the goalkeeper had endured an early
                                                                       misunderstanding with John Terry, which resulted in him
                                                                       getting too close to the returning captain and picking up his
                                                                       back-pass. Forrester lifted the free-kick over the crossbar. But
                                                                       when Forrester shot from distance before the interval, after the
                                                                       impressive Adam Forshaw had robbed Frank Lampard, Turnbull
                                                                       could only parry to the feet of Marcello Trotta, who ignited the
                                                                       occasion with his finish.
                                                                           Benítez responded at half-time by sending on Mata for
                                                                       the anonymous Marko Marin, moving Oscar to the right and,
                                                                       presumably, instructing his team to show a bit of backbone. He
Fernando Torres, left, celebrates with Ashley Cole after the
                                                                       had wanted to spare the overused Mata but the situation felt
Spaniard’s instinctive finish saved Chelsea’s blushes against
                                                                       desperate. He got the response that he wanted, with Chelsea
Brentford. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
                                                                       coming to show purpose and their first equaliser duly arrived. It
Thank heavens for Fernando Torres. Chelsea were staring at             was a beauty.
FA Cup humiliation at the hands of League One opposition                   Oscar had looked as though he would rather be elsewhere
and Rafael Benítez was feeling the fury of the club’s travelling       in the first half; possibly, on a beach in his native Brazil. At
support when the striker, who has become synonymous with a             least there was plenty of sand on this pitch. But he came alive
failure to deliver when it really matters, cast off the shackles.      inside the area, showing his balance to wriggle past defenders
    Torres’s late equaliser was marked by the kind of quality          before curling home with the outside of his right boot. Mata
that persuaded Chelsea to break the British transfer record to         drew a smart save out of Simon Moore shortly afterwards and it
sign him and, although it is trite to suggest that it repaid a slice   seemed as if Chelsea were primed to weather the storm.
of the £50m fee, there could be no doubting the relief that it             Wrong. Rösler withdrew Trotta for Tom Adeyemi, moved
brought.                                                               Clayton Donaldson to his normal No9 role and enjoyed a
    Benítez was prominent among the beneficiaries. His 78th-           stunning dividend. Donaldson’s pass ushered in Adeyemi
minute substitution of Branislav Ivanovic for César Azpilicueta,       and when he nicked the ball past Turnbull, he found himself
one right-back for another, as Chelsea trailed to Harry                impeded by the advancing Chelsea goalkeeper’s challenge. The
Forrester’s penalty, drew derision from the away enclosure,            visitors complained about the lack of contact but Turnbull had
who told him that he did not know what he was doing. There             been clumsy. He was booked – the sanction could have been
was the stock reminder that he was not wanted by them, and             worse, on another day – and Forrester kept his nerve from the
the end of the first half had triggered an outpouring of abuse.        spot.
    Torres’s instinctive finish – right-footed into the far corner         Ivanovic had gone close with an overhead kick when
– painted happier headlines for Chelsea, who had to fear the           Benítez swapped him for the fresh legs and natural width of
worst after Ballboy-gate at Swansea City last Wednesday                Azpilicueta, who promptly crossed for Ryan Bertrand to head . They could even have snatched it in injury            off target, and it became easy to imagine the reaction to a
time when the substitute Juan Mata’s cross struck Harlee Dean’s        Chelsea exit. Torres, however, stepped forward to save the day.
hand only for the referee, John Moss, to ignore the penalty            The club’s Cup defence remains alive.
appeal.                                                                    Man of the match Harry Forrester (Brentford)
    Perhaps, he subconsciously gave in to his romantic side
because defeat would have been awfully harsh on Brentford,
who controlled the first half and contributed heavily to an
engrossing tie. The intensity of their midfield trio was stirring

and Shaleum Logan and Forrester caught the eye with their
enterprise on the left flank. The cheers from the home crowd
upon the final whistle spoke of a famous result and Kool and the
Gang’s Celebration caught the mood, as it was played over the
PA system.
    Benítez had taken few chances with a strong lineup, in
                                                                         Compare and buy
which all six of his senior English players started, although he         Use our free independent comparison
would tell you that his squad is so stretched at present he has          services to switch suppliers and save
little room for manoeuvre. But Chelsea were dismal in the first          money on all your household bills.
half, creating nothing of note and struggling to piece together
passes. Brentford looked as if they wanted it more, in front of © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              
Page  G24 Sport                                                                    Sunday January 27 2013               21:16 GMT

                                                                     holders. The stadium lies some six miles away from Saracens’
                                                                     home in the amateur era in Southgate and the end of 16 years at
Saracens christen new home’s artificial                              Vicarage Road is not being mourned by the faithful.
turf by beating Cardiff Blues                                            “It was a very successful day,” said the club’s chief executive,
                                                                     Edward Griffiths. “One elderly gentleman in a few came up to
• Saracens 19-11 Cardiff Blues                                       me with tears in his eyes and said he could not believe what had
• James Short makes Saracens’ history with                           happened. It was like seeing children on Christmas morning
                                                                     when supporters were looking to see where their seats were.”
LV Cup try
                                                                         The ground holds 10,000 spectators but Saracens have not
Paul Rees at Allianz Park                                            ruled out staging their Heineken Cup quarter-final against
                                                                     Ulster in April here, even though they need 50% extra capacity.
                                                                     “We could, on an exceptional basis, take it to 15,000 by adding
                                                                     to the stands at either end of the ground,” said the chairman
                                                                     Nigel Wray. “Alternatively, we could play at Twickenham. The
                                                                     choice will have to be made by the end of next week.”
                                                                         The day was better than the game itself and Saracens’
                                                                     victory, which was far less comfortable than it should have
                                                                     been, leaves them in a final-round tussle with London Irish for
                                                                     a place in the semi-final and the Exiles will be up to their knees
                                                                     in mud at the Arms Park on Friday night with a week of rain
                                                                     forecast for Cardiff.
                                                                         A try looked as unlikely as a mud fight until, just before
                                                                     the interval, the Blues launched a counterattack after getting
                                                                     away with a knock-on to thwart a Saracens attack. They were
Saracens were playing their first game at Allianz Park but left
                                                                     awarded a penalty which they chose to kick to touch and baffled
it late to seal a win against Cardiff Blues. Photograph: Henry
                                                                     the opposition with the lineout call to the extent that the
Browne/Action Images
                                                                     impressive No8 Robin Copeland had broken into a gallop before
It was billed as a test event, even if most of the Test players in   anyone tried to stop him.
both teams were away preparing for the start of the Six Nations,         It was a match neither side seemed anxious to win, as if
the first match played at Saracens’ new home, complete with its      the prize were not big enough to get bothered about. Saracens
artificial surface, and there was one conspicuous advantage.         used their dominance up front to establish position and set the
    The day before the match, the surface had been covered in        platform for Nils Mordt to kick four penalties, two in each half,
snow but the jersey of every player was as unstained after the       but were regularly turned over on the floor.
final whistle as it had been at the start. “It should save them          But they did not look like scoring a try, even when the Blues
a bit on cleaning bills,” said Phil Davies, the Cardiff Blues’       lost three players to the sin-bin after the break and were down
director, who is used to seeing players come off the Arms Park       to 13 men for a four-minute spell, but Saracens finally put
with the colour of their kit masked by the mud that forms the        together a passing movement with 90 seconds to go and James
surface on one side of the ground.                                   Short exploited an overlap to score in the corner and take his
    Players were able to stay on their feet in contact, the ball     place in the club’s history.
stayed dry and conducive to handling throughout and there                Saracens Goode (Wilson, 55); Maddock (Stanley, 65),
were fewer re-set scrums than there are in the average game.         Taylor, Powell, Short; Mordt, Spencer (Ali, 79); Auterac, George
But there are some things that are immune to changes in              (Smit, 55), Nieto (Du Plessis, 25), Sheriff (Fearn, 76), Botha
the playing surface, not least the tune a referee plays on his       (Hargreaves, 60), Itoje (Melck, 60), Fenton-Wells, Jubb.
whistle and the desire of players not to give their opponents an         Try Short. Con Mordt. Pens Mordt 4.
advantage.                                                               Cardiff Blues Tovey (T Williams 69; Hill, 75); O Williams,
    The playing surface was dry and mud-free but the match           Evans, Hewitt, Robinson; Sweeney (Davies, 59), Jones (Walker,
would have been no less entertaining had it been played on           71); Hobbs (Trevett, 59), Dacey (R Williams, 69), Bourrust
the largely grassless Arms Park. The first half was littered         (Filise, 59), Paterson, Cook, Hamilton, Watts-Jones (Young, 59),
with 18 penalties, most coming at the breakdown where surer          Copeland.
footing was not enough to prevent players from going off                 Try Copeland. Pens Sweeney, Davies.
their feet when they felt it necessary to slow down opposition           Sin-bin Hobbs, 49, Young 68, Hewitt 74.
possession.                                                              Referee R Thomas (Wales). Attendance 3,726
    “The pitch was different but good,” said the Blues’ fly-half,
Ceri Sweeney. “I played with full studs in my boots and they
made the same impression on the pitch as if the grass was
real. The ball stayed dry, which helped handling, and although
there was not as much give when you planted your foot into
the ground, it was in no way dangerous and there is nothing
negative I can say about it.”
    There were no away supporters in the ground because the
capacity in what was a dummy run before the official opening
next month was confined to the home club’s season-ticket © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              
Page 6 G24 Sport                                                                    Sunday January 27 2013              21:16 GMT

                                                                         Watching Murray and Djokovic play each other is never going
Andy Murray finds Novak Djokovic too                                 to be a night at the ballet and, in their second grand slam final
strong in Australian Open final                                      in a row, they again dragged us through the emotional hedge,
                                                                     their sinews, wills and patience stretched like elastic. Murray’s
• Third consecutive Australian Open title                            body snapped but not his spirit. The quality was not anywhere
for Djokovic                                                         near as high as in New York , where Murray won
                                                                     in four hours 54 minutes, but this was just as tense, a closer
• World No1 fights back to win final 6-7, 7-6,
                                                                     contest that ebbed throughout.
6-3, 6-2                                                                 There was nothing much in it after half an hour. Djokovic
• In pictures: best images from the                                  applied the more menacing pressure, forcing Murray deep
Australian Open final                                                and he had to save four break points to hold in the sixth game.
• As it happened: Katy Murrells’s game-by-                           Djokovic allowed himself a smile after slipping, retrieving and
game report                                                          then hunting down a chip for 30-15 in the seventh. It was rare
                                                                     levity as the contest grew more intense. Djokovic was getting
Kevin Mitchell at Melbourne Park                                     more depth and fizz on his ground strokes and Murray had to
                                                                     dig in again to hold in the eighth.
                                                                         After an hour, the struggle was pretty even, although the
                                                                     edge in power was on Djokovic’s racket, and Murray had yet
                                                                     to hit the serving rhythm that had destroyed Federer
                                                                     p/3db8z , so he was hugely grateful for a Djokovic double fault at
                                                                     the start of the tie-break. It was at that very point that Murray’s
                                                                     tennis clicked. The first serves went in, the forehands stretched
                                                                     deeper on either wing, and Djokovic lost focus, hitting a couple
                                                                     of loose shots under no pressure, the last one gifting Murray the
                                                                     set, after 68 minutes.
                                                                         All tournament, in nearly every set of every match, Murray’s
                                                                     serve has been strong. In four hours against Federer, he hit 21
                                                                     aces; this time it took him half an hour to hit his first, another
Novak Djokovic celebrates defeating Andy Murray.                   hour to hit his second – followed by a third within a couple of
Photograph: Daniel Munoz/Reuters                                     minutes. The power was there; he just needed to tap into it, like
                                                                     a batsman searching for his timing.
Andy Murray put so much into his preparation for this
                                                                         And so, a second tie-break: this time Murray cracked and
Australian Open, it was cruel to see him cut down by a failure
                                                                     Djokovic’s face was a mixture of relief and renewed belief when
to his body that was not entirely of his making. But Murray
                                                                     he forced his opponent to net a limp backhand and level the
– the big toe on his right foot swathed in bandages and a tight
hamstring tugging at him too – could hardly object to the
                                                                         During the break between sets, Murray had running repairs
ruthless way in which Novak Djokovic made him suffer during
                                                                     on his toe, the gory work blown up on the big screen: not an
the closing stages of the four sets they played over two hours
                                                                     image you would want to linger on. Thus hobbled, he resumed
and 13 minutes. He would have done the same.
                                                                     the engagement.
    In fact, four months ago he did. At Flushing Meadows,
                                                                         The serving cycle had reverted to Djokovic in the third and
it was Murray who tortured Djokovic in the final of the US
                                                                     stayed that way as still we waited for a service break. That
Open, forcing him to run so much in the first two sets that his
                                                                     looked a real possibility in the eighth game when Murray
legs were reduced to rubber. On the Rod Laver Arena, it was
                                                                     pushed a forehand into the tramlines to give Djokovic three
Djokovic’s turn as the defending champion forced Murray to
                                                                     break points. Murray got back to 30-40 and, not for the first
twist and turn, winning 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2.
                                                                     time in recent days, a comedian shouted out in his ball toss.
    It was plain in the aftermath that Murray’s pain ran deeper
                                                                     He steadied himself for the re-set, served and then watched
than that which throbbed through his body. He had utterly
                                                                     in disbelief as a forehand argued with the net before dropping
believed after beating Roger Federer in the semi-final that
                                                                     back on his side of the court, and he had given Djokovic a
he had Djokovic’s measure. Their rivalry is not diminished,
                                                                     chance to serve for the match at 5-3.
though. They will play many more finals. This completed
                                                                         When he hit the net again, the ball sat up for Djokovic to
Djokovic’s hat-trick of championships in Melbourne (the first to
                                                                     put away, untroubled. A big serve got him to three set points.
do so since Roy Emerson), and he is back to his roaring best. In
                                                                     Again, a fan chose to shout. But Murray hit his return long and
three of his four victories overall, he has come back from losing
                                                                     Djokovic took the set 6-3 in a relatively whizzbang 41 minutes.
the first set. The Serb is some fighter when roused.
                                                                     Murray complained to the umpire about the interruptions. It
    “His record here is incredible,” Murray said, managing a
                                                                     was a reflection of his frustration rather than a realistic plea.
smile. “Very few people have managed to do what he’s done, a
                                                                         He now had a hurting soul and an injured toe. Djokovic broke
deserved champion.”
                                                                     for 3-1 with marionette tennis, pulling Murray this way and that,
    Djokovic said: “Congratulations to Andy. We have played
                                                                     throwing in teasing drop shots among angled ground strokes.
so many thrilling matches the past two years and there will be
                                                                         Murray was now in serious trouble but still swinging, like an
many more to come. What a joy, it’s an incredible feeling to win
                                                                     angry man in a pub brawl he knew he could not win. And there
once more. This is definitely my favourite grand slam. I love this © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page  G24 Sport                                                                     Sunday January 27 2013              21:16 GMT

was little he could do about the wickedly-slashed backhand            Cook said when it was put to him that the 3-2 result represented
that left him rooted to the spot on his next service game, and he     satisfactory progress. “What’s really frustrating is that we’ve
trailed 1-4, with defeat inevitable.                                  showed when we play to our potential we can win games out
    Murray refused to lie down, serving through the pain to stay      here. In games two and three we didn’t do that.
in the fight at 5-2 in the fourth. Djokovic was going to have to          “But the way the lads played today was excellent. Yes, it
slide the knife in himself.                                           was an important toss to win, as it was in the last game. But
    Serving for the championship, Djokovic strode imperiously         we can take a lot from it. It’s been a young squad coming here
to the net behind a solid serve – and dumped the volley on his        and we’ve learned a lot about a lot of players. With a few senior
own side. Ramping down the power on the next serve, he could          players coming back, we’ve got a lot of competition for places.”
only watch as Murray banged the return down the line. When                All three of the players picked out for praise made a
Murray pulled off another miracle get, Djokovic nearly bungled        significant contribution. James Tredwell completed what his
the smash, this time the ball dribbling on to Murray’s side.          captain described as “an outstanding tour” by taking two early
    Murray’s will was extraordinary, running after lost causes        slip catches off consecutive balls from Tim Bresnan – the first a
as he might have done chasing the last bus home as a child in         cracker to dismiss Rohit Sharma, the second less convincing but
Dunblane. It was gloriously pointless, perhaps, but he did it         even more important as he juggled Virat Kohli’s edge several
and the exaltation when Murray stuck his final backhand of the        times before clutching it to his stomach – then earning figures of
tournament into the net was a spectacle to behold.                    two for 25 from his 10 overs.
                                                                          Technically he was guilty of giving two lives to India’s top
                                                                      scorer Suresh Raina, who was named man of the series after
Alastair Cook rues missed chances as                                  playing another intelligent innings, this time 83 from 93 balls.
England head home from India                                          But the first one, again at second slip off Chris Woakes when
                                                                      Raina was in single figures, was very difficult and the second
                                                                      was driven so wide of the Kent off-spinner that it just brushed
• ‘We’ve learned a lot about players,’ says                           his fingers as he dived to his right.
England captain                                                           He should have caught Ravi Ashwin at long-on late in the
• Cook praises James Tredwell, Joe Root                               innings, a fumble that cost England 10 runs, and Samit Patel
and Steve Finn                                                        took the tally of drops to four with the worst of all off the
                                                                      unfortunate Steve Finn, although Shami Ahmed fell in the
Andy Wilson at Dharamsala
                                                                      following over as Bresnan wrapped up the innings to end with
                                                                      four for 45 – a good way for him to sign off for the winter as he
                                                                      showed no sign of the elbow problem that has ruled him out of
                                                                      the various series in New Zealand over the next two months.
                                                                          Drops notwithstanding, Tredwell ended the series heavily
                                                                      in credit with figures of 47-2-200-11, making him England’s
                                                                      leading wicket-taker – although Finn, who was also praised by
                                                                      Cook, would rival him as their best bowler, as he showed again
                                                                      by claiming the key wicket of MS Dhoni, lbw to a beauty. Joe
                                                                      Root completed Cook’s trio of high achievers and, although
                                                                      his innings of 31 from 49 balls was not as obviously important
                                                                      as his contributions earlier in the series, it again demonstrated
                                                                      his ability to size up a situation and play accordingly. England
                                                                      were wobbling at 64 for two, Kevin Pietersen having holed
England bowler James Tredwell was praised by Alastair Cook           out to deep mid-wicket, but Root proved a perfect foil for Bell,
for having an ‘outstanding tour’ in India. Photograph: Stu            taking no chances but still keeping the scoreboard ticking over,
Forster/Getty Images                                                 notably with a back cut for four off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, which
                                                                      must rank as one of the shots of the series.
Ian Bell ensured England’s Indian winter ended on a high
                                                                          Bell started uncertainly on a pitch that continued to offer
– and not only because they were playing in this spectacular
                                                                      pace and movement to the seamers and he was understandably
Himalayan setting. But Alastair Cook confirmed afterwards that
                                                                      chuffed, in that unassuming way of his, to have seen England
he will leave India wondering what might have been.
                                                                      home with only his third century in 120 ODI innings. “I have
   A 3-2 series defeat, the respectable margin secured by Bell’s
                                                                      been guilty of getting lots of starts and not going on, so to be
unbeaten 113 from 143 balls, means that a weakened England
                                                                      there at the end in a tightish game feels good,” he said. But
squad have won one more 50-over contest in the space of three
                                                                      this was a stroll through the fells rather than a steep ascent and
weeks on this trip than full-strength teams managed in 16
                                                                      England crested the brow with 16 balls to spare, Eoin Morgan
matches over the previous seven years.
                                                                      having lengthened their stride with three sixes in his unbeaten
   But it was no coincidence that they won both of the games
in which Cook won the toss – at the start of the series in Rajkot
and again here, when his first correct call out of four allowed his
seamers to bowl first and exploit morning moisture. If only the
captain had been able to insert the Indians in similar conditions
in Chandigarh last Wednesday, England could easily be
celebrating a series win. “We’re not really in for decent efforts,” © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page  G24 Sport                                                                      Sunday January 27 2013                21:16 GMT

                                                                      racing as they are of life in general. The regulators’ task is to find
                                                                      the right mixture of detection and deterrence to ensure that
‘Chopra Case’ race-fixing exposed but                                 they are actually corrupted as rarely as possible.
this is no tip of an iceberg                                              A 15-year ban – in effect, a life sentence for a jockey – scores
                                                                      highly in terms of deterrence. As for detection, in one of the
Betting scam involving Andrew Heffernan,                              three races in which Heffernan was trying to finish out of the
Michael Chopra and seven others must not                              frame, more than half of the money looking to lay his mount
                                                                      in Betfair’s place market could be traced, fairly directly, to his
be ammunition for racing’s critics
Greg Wood                                                                 The scam stood out like a beacon and once the account
                                                                      holders had been identified, telephone records, and stored
                                                                      texts on one phone in particular, filled in the gaps.
                                                                          It could be argued that this was an amateurish plot that was
                                                                      begging to be uncovered and that smarter operators in more
                                                                      liquid markets are the real concern. But in a higher grade it will
                                                                      be hard to take much out of a horse if it is not expected to place
                                                                      anyway while, in terms of fancied horses, there is no evidence
                                                                      that these are failing any more frequently than chance would
                                                                          In fact, as has been pointed out in this space quite regularly
                                                                      in recent years, the form horses are running more predictably
                                                                      now than at any time in the past. The evidence is in the Racing
                                                                      Post’s tipping table, which logs every tip in every national
                                                                      newspaper from 1 January to 31 December, and in which, for
The jockey Andrew Heffernan, along with three footballers,
                                                                      several years now, there is scarcely, if ever, a single tipster in the
was among nine individuals banned after allegations of race-
                                                                      business who can beat a blind bet on the favourite in every race.
fixing. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
                                                                          Some punters will always see a cheat at every turn and
The corruption inquiry which resulted in 70 years (and                occasionally they will be right. If they want to know why they
six months) in bans from the sport being imposed on nine              tend to lose at betting, however, the place to look is probably a
individuals last week became known, somewhat inevitably,              little closer to home.
as the Chopra Case, since the only way to sell any sports story
these days seems to be to link it with football. The central
figure, though, was the jockey Andrew Heffernan, who now
has 15 years to reflect on how a toxic combination of youthful
cockiness and a shortage of smarts have cost him what might
well have been a rewarding career.
    The outcome of the British Horseracing Authority’s case
was also a chance for those who insist that cases like this are
just “the tip of the iceberg” to dust off the argument that all
racing – and low-grade racing like the all-weather Flat circuit in
particular – is rotten to the core. And even if, like me, you tend

towards the view that this is largely a product of pocket talk
and paranoia, a conspiracy like this one still presents a problem.
How do we resolve the philosophical riddle that is proving a
negative and show beyond any doubt that there is no iceberg?
    The simple answer, of course, is that we cannot. There is
so much cash washing around in racing and betting that there
will always be the potential for an individual to be corrupted.         Fantasy League Classic
A young jockey who wants the benefits of success without the
effort and uncertainty attached to working for them may be              Manage a squad of 16 players
particularly susceptible.                                               and a budget of £75 million.
    All but a handful of punters, meanwhile, are losers in the
long term and many have a normal human desire to lay the
                                                                        £75,000 worth of prizes to be
blame for their failure on something – in fact, anything – other        won in weekly, monthly and
than their own poor judgment. So it is easy to cry foul when
they back a beaten even-money shot, even though its true
                                                                        overall competitions. Beat your
chance, with the bookies’ profit margin stripped out, is a shade        nearest and dearest in a friends
of odds-against: more likely to lose, in other words, than it is to
    Such are the inherent problems and ingrained attitudes that
racing faces as it tries to defend its image. Corruption can never
be eradicated since corruptible individuals are as much a part of © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                 
Page  G24 Sport                                                                    Sunday January 27 2013              21:16 GMT

FA Cup roundup                                                       Hurricane Fly’s Irish Champion Hurdle
                                                                     win primes him for Cheltenham
• Bolton 1 Everton 2
• Reading 4 Sheffield United 0                                       • Hurricane Fly in line to regain
Richard Jolly and Paul Doyle                                       Cheltenham Festival crown
                                                                     • ‘He’s in the same form he was two years
                                                                     ago,’ says trainer
                                                                     Greg Wood at Leopardstown

Johnny Heitinga scores Everton’s winning goal at Bolton.
Photograph: Ed Sykes/Action Images
David Moyes has said he will not let Johnny Heitinga leave
Everton in the January transfer window after the defender            Hurricane Fly and Ruby Walsh forge clear to win the
scored the winning goal in the 2-1 FA Cup victory at Bolton          BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Wanderers. “I can’t let him go,” Moyes said. “We are too short       Photograph: Barry Cronin/PA
in central defence.”
                                                                     As with so many of his races in a career that now includes 14
    Heitinga replaced Nikica Jelavic with 10 minutes remaining
                                                                     Grade One victories, there was never a moment in the Irish
and the score at 1-1 – after Marvin Sordell, for Bolton, and
                                                                     Champion Hurdle here on Sunday when Hurricane Fly’s third
Steven Pienaar had scored in the first half – and the substitution
                                                                     successive win in the race seemed anything but a foregone
was met with boos from Everton fans. “The fans saw a striker
coming off for a centre-half, and that’s why they were booing,”
                                                                        The real interest came afterwards, as Willie Mullins, his
the Everton defender Phil Jagielka said.
                                                                     trainer, suggested that this year’s Hurricane Fly is the same
    Reading cantered to a 4-0 victory over Sheffield United to
                                                                     one that followed up in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham
strengthen manager Brian McDermott’s conviction that a good
                                                                     two seasons ago, and not the slightly limp imitation who could
Cup run can help his team stay in the Premier League. Two
                                                                     finish only third when odds-on at the Festival last March.
goals from Noel Hunt and one apiece from Mikele Leigertwood
                                                                        The day’s feature race was run in miserable conditions and
and Garath McCleary ensured a comfortable home victory.
                                                                     on desperate ground, but Hurricane Fly, the 1-6 favourite,
                                                                     travelled as smoothly as ever before quickening into a decisive
                                                                     lead at the top of the straight.
                                                                        Thousand Stars, who had set a steady early pace, was five
                                                                     lengths adrift at the line, and nosed out Binocular, the 2010
                                                                     Champion Hurdle winner, who was running for the first time
                                                                     since finishing fourth in last season’s Champion.
                                                                        “When he [Hurricane Fly] came back in from grass this
                                                                     year, he was much stronger,” Mullins said, “and he’s held his

                                                                     strength. Every time I’ve worked him he didn’t lose condition,
                                                                     he went in and ate up, and last year he just couldn’t hold his
                                                                     condition, he just wasn’t right but we never really put our finger
                                                                     on it.
                                                                        “He’s back to himself, and Ruby [Walsh] was absolutely
  Are you getting the best deal on                                   delighted with him when he got off. He just gave him a squeeze
  your mortgage?                                                     turning off the home bend and he took off, ‘like he’d just
  Compare over 8500 mortgages                                        jumped in’ were the words that he used.
                                                                        “I’ve been saying all year that he’s in the same form he
  online to find the best deal for you.                              was two years ago, he’s holding his form and maybe even                                              improving. So if I can just keep him like that for the next six or
  compareandbuy                                                      seven weeks, we’ll be happy going across [to the Cheltenham
                                                                        Hurricane Fly was promoted to clear favourite for the © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                                 Sunday January 27 2013              21:16 GMT

Champion Hurdle by most bookmakers, having been joint-
favourite with Darlan, the Christmas Hurdle winner, in several
lists before Sunday’s race. The best price available is now 3-1
                                                                   Taiho obituary
with Paddy Power and Coral, while Darlan and Grandouet, who
along with Binocular are stabled in the Nicky Henderson yard,      Popular sumo wrestler who broke records in
are 4-1 and 7-1 respectively.                                      his sport
    “He took off up the straight like it was good ground in the
                                                                   Michael Carlson
summer and not the winter conditions that we have,” Mullins
said. “As they turned into the straight they were met by a
blizzard of snow and sleet, and when you’re trying to ride in
those conditions, you can’t see where you’re going.
    “Ruby said when he turned down the back straight in the
previous race on Pont Alexandre, they were just blown off
course completely because he’s like a big sail, the size of him.
The wind just caught him and blew him out over the track.
There’s muck coming back at you too from the frontrunners and
you’re trying to see the jumps.”
    Tony McCoy, Binocular’s jockey, gave his partner a very
considerate re-introduction to racing, and though he was very
close to running down Thousand Stars in the straight to take
second place, he might well have succeeded had he been a little
more serious with Binocular at a slightly earlier stage. He was    Master of leverage and balance: Taiho during a tournament in
never any threat to Hurricane Fly, however, and is top-priced at   Tokyo, 1966. Photograph: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images
20-1 to regain the Champion Hurdle in March after a three-year     Taiho, who has died of heart failure aged 72, was considered the
gap.                                                               greatest sumo wrestler of the second half of the 20th century,
    The Leopardstown stewards held an inquiry into the running     and arguably the greatest of all time, winning 32 honbasho
and riding of Binocular but accepted the explanations offered      – “real” or official tournaments – a mark that has never been
by McCoy and Henderson.                                            approached.
    Conditions were poor for much of the afternoon but should          Making his way to the top division by the age of 19, he blazed
be at least a little more tolerable at Cheltenham in March         through the rankings to achieve the highest, yokozuna, at 21,
when Pont Alexandre is another probable favourite for a            the youngest to that date. Elevation to yokozuna requires not
championship event, having shown an impressive turn of foot        only winning, but also an appropriate sense of spirit, dignity
to win the card’s Grade Two novice hurdle over two-and-a-half      and grace, and Taiho’s rapid rise was all the more remarkable
miles.                                                             because he was only half Japanese.
    Pont Alexandre was another short-priced favourite for the          He was born Ivan Boryshko on Karafuto, the Japanese half
Mullins-Walsh combination, and galloped right away from his        of the island now controlled by Russia and called Sakhalin.
field in the straight to beat Sizing Gold by 11 lengths.           His father, Markiyan Boryshko, was Ukrainian, a member of
    “It was a huge performance to make all the running in that     the White Guard who had fled the Red Army after the Russian
ground and that weather and to burn off the horses behind like     revolution; his mother, Kiyo Naya, was Japanese. When the
that,” Mullins said. “He destroyed them with a good jump at        Soviets occupied the whole of the island at the end of the
the second-last and then opened up a gap on them when other        second world war, Markiyan was arrested, and Ivan and his
horses would have been getting tired.”                             mother sent to Hokkaido, Japan, where he took the Japanese
    Pont Alexandre is quoted for both the Neptune Novice           name Koki Naya.
Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham         Taiho grew up poor, peddling fermented soya beans to help
Festival, over two-and-a-half and three miles respectively, but    his mother earn a living. But, big for his age, he joined the
is more likely to run in the former race, for which he is top-     renowned Nishonoseki sumo stable when he was 16, fighting
priced at 4-1 favourite.                                           under the name Naya. In May 1959, he was promoted to juryo,
    “Ballycasey [who is unbeaten in three starts this season]      the second division of fighters, and given the name Taiho, or
looks like he might go for the Albert Bartlett,” Mullins said,     “great phoenix”.
“while Pont Alexandre seems to have plenty of speed and will           After only four tournaments, the last of which he won, he
go for the Neptune.                                                joined the first division of wrestlers, makuuchi, within which
    “We look forward to going to Cheltenham with Pont              there are five levels. They compete in six honbasho each year,
Alexandre, but we really look forward to getting him over          the top 32 divided into two groups of 16. Each fights 15 bouts,
fences. When you look at him, he’s a gorgeous horse, he has        and the one with the best record wins the Emperor’s Cup.
size, scope and a lovely temperament, and we’re really looking         Taiho won the “fighting spirit” award twice in his first three
forward to novice chasing with him next year.”                     tournaments, as well as a kinboshi, or star, for defeating the
                                                                   yokozuna Asashio in his third. He rose two more levels and won
                                                                   the year’s final honbasho, becoming at 20 the youngest ever
                                                                   to receive the Emperor’s Cup, and earning him promotion to
                                                                   ozeki, the second-highest rank.
                                                                       He won his fourth and fifth tournaments as an ozeki, and © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                           
Page 11 G24 Sport                                                      Sunday January 27 2013   21:16 GMT

was promoted to yokozuna in time for the final tournament
of 1961, which he also won. Promoted at the same time was
Kashiwado, with whom Taiho began a famous rivalry, which
he dominated, as he did the whole world of sumo. Twice he
won six honbasho in a row, eight times he won with perfect
15-0 records, and his string of 45 matches without a defeat has
never been equalled (his loss in the 46th was so controversial
that video replay was introduced into the judging process).
Although his career victories have since been surpassed, his
percentage of victories remains the best in sumo history.
    Taiho started his career at nearly 16 stone, and finished at
about 23 stone, not large for sumo. But as a master of leverage
and balance, he won nearly a third of his bouts using yorikiri,
the technique of simply forcing his opponent out of the ring.
    His strength and handsome features helped build his
popularity, and when he married in 1966, on his 26th birthday
and the same day as winning another Emperor’s Cup, there
were 1,000 guests and 200 reporters, and Taiho began a new
tradition of the post-wedding press conference. That year, on a
tour of the Soviet Union, he attempted without success to trace
his father.
    He retired in 1971, after winning the year’s first tournament,
and finishing 12-3 in the second. A yokozuna cannot be
demoted; the onus is on him to retire. Thus, in the third
honbasho of the year, having lost to ozeki Takanohana for the
second time in a row, he announced his retirement. He was still
at the peak of his popularity: a children’s chant at the time listed
him just behind the Yomiuri Giants baseball team, but ahead of
tamagoyaki, a fried egg treat.
    Taiho opened his own stable of wrestlers, but his status
as an oyakata (elder, or master) was never rewarded with the
customary high posts within the Sumo Association, a fact which
many felt was attributable to his lack of pure Japanese blood,
and a controversial issue today, with the influx of Americans
and Mongolians into the top levels of sumo. The association
blamed it on a stroke Taiho suffered in 1977 which demanded
years of rehabilitation.
    His stable was never hugely successful, and his son-in-law,
Takatoriki, a former ozeki, was banned by the sumo association
after he was implicated in baseball gambling scandals in 2010.
After his mandatory retirement from sumo coaching at 65,
Taiho became curator of a sumo museum, and concentrated on
his blood-donor charity, Taiho-Go. In 2009, he became the first
sumo wrestler to receive the Person of Cultural Merit award
from the Japanese government.
    In his final interview, he drew the Japanese characters nin
(endurance) and yume (dream), and said, “Will we realise our
dreams after enduring our lives? I think we will.”
• Taiho (Ivan Boryshko/Koki Naya), sumo wrestler, born 29
May 1940; died 19 January 2013 © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                   

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