Monday, May 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T


Greek triple jump world champion Voula Tsiamita, the last bearer of the Olympic flame on Greek soil, lights a special urn during the handing over ceremony of the flame to the Australian organizers at the Pan Athenian stadium, site of the first modern Olympics in 1896, on Saturday
Greek triple jump world champion Voula Tsiamita, the last bearer of the Olympic flame on Greek soil, lights a special urn during the handing over ceremony of the flame to the Australian organisers at the Pan Athenian stadium, site of the first modern Olympics in 1896, on Saturday. The flame will fly to Australia to begin a long trip until the September 15 start of the Sydney games. — AP/PTI photo

Dravid not for Asia Cup ?
PUNE, May 21 — There is a question mark about Rahul Dravid’s inclusion in the Indian team for the coming Asia Cup commencing in Dhaka from May 28 while south-paw Vinod Kambli may get the nod.

Indonesia clinch Thomas Cup
KUALA LUMUPR, May 21 — Indonesia emerged Thomas Cup champions once again as they defeated China 3-0 losing only one game in the bargain. This was a real authoritative victory for the Indonesians-their 12th Thomas Cup victory, and fourth win in Thomas Cup over China. For China this is the tenth year that they go without winning the cup, their last victory coming in 1990 over Malaysia in Tokyo.

Lele: no corruption in Indian cricket
NEW DELHI, May 21 — Cricket board secretary Jaywant Lele has said match-fixing allegations against sacked South African skipper Hansie Cronje, if proved, will have a serious impact on the game.
Bindra to send reply today
Paper records Malik’s boast


EARLIER STORIES
 
Imran, Wasim lift Pak
BRIDGETOWN, May 21 — Teenager Imran Nazir hit an unbeaten 94 and Mohammad Wasim collected a half century as Pakistan rallied against the West Indies from a first-innings deficit of 145.

England humiliate Zimbabwe
LONDON, May 21 — England beat Zimbabwe by an innings and 209 runs in the first Test here at Lords today to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match cricket series.


Safin knocks out Rios
HAMBURG, May 21 — Brazilian fifth seed Gustavo Kuerten made a slow start but still reached the final of the $ 2.95 million Hamburg Masters Series last night with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Romanian qualifier Andrei Pavel.


Dyson pips Randhawa for title
SHANGHAI, May 21 — England’s Simon Dyson pipped India’s Jyoti Randhawa as he sank a nerve-jangling eight footer for par at the last to lift the $ 400,000 Volvo China open by one stroke today and became only the third man to secure two consecutive wins on the Davidoff Tour.

Kunte emerges sole leader
MUMBAI, May 21 — Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte shot into sole lead with a thumping victory over double IM norm holder Sunderarajan Kidambi in the fifth round of the 37th National ‘A’ Chess Championship here today.
Imram Nazir of Pakistan hits West Indies captian Jimmy Adams, not in picture, for 4 runs during his 94 not out on the third day of the second test match at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados on Saturday
Imram Nazir of Pakistan hits West Indies captain Jimmy Adams, not in picture, for 4 runs during his 94 not out on the third day of the second test match at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados on Saturday. At the close of Pakistan was 152 runs without loss. — AP/PTI photo

Chelsea beat Aston Villa to lift FA Cup
LONDON, May 21 — Chelsea won the 72nd FA Cup final at Wembley last night beating Aston Villa 1-0 with a goal from Roberto di Matteo after 73 minutes securing the trophy, their third ever and second in four years, and a place in next season’s UEFA Cup competition.

Torch relay may bypass Fiji
SYDNEY, May 21 — The Olympic torch relay will bypass Fiji if the Pacific island nation is deemed too unsafe after an armed uprising in Parliament, the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) said today.

Aborigines urged to protest at Olympics
CANBERRA, May 21 — Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins has encouraged Aborigines from across Australia to converge on Sydney to protest peacefully during the Olympic Games.


REGIONAL SPORT BRIEFS
  • Fine bowling spell


    Top




 

Dravid not for Asia Cup ?

PUNE, May 21 (UNI) — There is a question mark about Rahul Dravid’s inclusion in the Indian team for the coming Asia Cup commencing in Dhaka from May 28 while south-paw Vinod Kambli may get the nod.

It is understood that a Mumbai-based eveninger had flashed the news that the English county Kent has requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not to include Dravid for the Asia Cup.

“I have no information whatsoever regarding the request made by English county Kent not to select Rahul Dravid in the Indian squad for the Asia Cup in Dhaka beginning May 28,’’ was the emphatic reply of the national selection committee chairman Chandu Borde.

The Karnataka star is currently representing Kent in the English county championships in progress in England. Two other players — skipper Saurav Ganguly and leggie Anil Kumble — are also engaged with Lancashire and Liecestershire respectively. The three Indian stalwarts, though included in the list of 25 probables for the camp, have been exempted by the Indian cricket board to attend the camp in order to fulfil their commitments towards their respective counties in England.

“Though the news has reached me, I am not at all aware of its authenticity since nothing has been communicated to me officially,’’ Borde said.

The former India captain explained that in practice such information or request reaches the BCCI which, in turn, passes on the information to the selectors. The true picture would become known only after the arrival of BCCI Secretary Jaywant Lele who is reaching Pune tomorrow morning, Borde clarified.

According to information available from Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) joint honorary secretary Anant Mate, the Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly and BCCI Secretary Lele will be reaching Pune tomorrow morning to attend the selection committee meeting. Mate said that only after the arrival of the secretary, the time for the selection committee meeting would be decided.

Meanwhile, all the five selectors — Chandu Borde, Madan Lal, T.A. Shekhar, Ashok Malhotra and Anil Deshpande — watched the probables play a 40-over limited match today on the penultimate day of the 10-day camp played between Sachin Tendulkar eleven and Mohammed Azharuddin eleven.

Selection committee chairman Borde, incidentally, had not only watched the probables in action for the past seven days but had also made elaborate arrangements for the 10-day camp at the Poona Club grounds. His other colleagues could arrive in the city only last evening.

Going by the performance, the Mumbai hard-hitting south-paw Vinod Kambli should find a berth in the Indian squad for his consistent performance in the just-concluded domestic season. There will, however, be a close tussle between medium-pacer T. Kumaran, Amit Bhandari and left-hand seamer Zaheer Khan to partner Ajit Agarkar.

The other claimants being young all-rounder Reetendar Singh Sodhi of Punjab and Hrishikesh Kanitkar of Maharashtra. The latter, however, has a remote chance as there were many other strong contenders in the fray for a single slot. The specialist batsman would foresee a keen tussle between Jacob Martin, Hemang Badani and S.S. Das.

The pandora’s box will, however, be opened after the selectors meet tomorrow before finalising the 14-member squad.

The practice match saw rival captain Azharuddin slamming a strokeful 102 before retiring which came from 112 balls, 144 minutes and included eight fours and three sixes. Sachin scored a 100 before retiring and his hundred came from merely 55 balls in 80 minutes with 16 fours and two sixes.

Batting first, Azhar eleven scored 169 for nine in 38.2 overs from the allotted 40. Azhar scored 102 and the spoils were shared by Amit Bhandari 2/27, Sodhi 2/24, Agarkar 1/20 and Sunil Joshi 1/30.

In reply, Sachin eleven mustered 171 for one in 23 overs. Sachin (100 retired), Kambli (42 not out) and S.S. Das (18) were the mainstay. T Kumaran took one wicket for 42.
Top

 

Imran, Wasim lift Pak

BRIDGETOWN, May 21 (AP) — Teenager Imran Nazir hit an unbeaten 94 and Mohammad Wasim collected a half century as Pakistan rallied against the West Indies from a first-innings deficit of 145.

By the close of the third day yesterday, of the teams’ second Test, the tourists were 152 without loss, an overall lead of seven runs with two days remaining.

Earlier in the day, the West Indies stretched their overnight 253 for five to 398 all out, led by 19-year-old Ramnaresh Sarwan’s undefeated 84 in his debut Test.

Off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq was the best of the bowlers with five for 121 off 51 overs.

But the West Indies’ advantage was wiped away in an extended final session as both young Pakistanis made full use of a favourable batting surface.

Nazir, in only his second Test, was the most enterprising lashing his first ball to the cover boundary and hitting 14 fours to all parts of the ground. He faced 123 balls in just under three hours.

The 22-year-old Wasim was more circumspect and struck just five fours off 119 deliveries in reaching 53 not out.

In the 40 overs in the Pakistan innings, the West Indies captain used six bowlers but none managed to cause any alarm against the confident pair. Nazir, (18) may become the third youngest batsman to notch a Test century today.

The day started more promisingly for the West Indies, with Sarwan and nightwatchman Curtly Ambrose extending their sixth-wicket partnership to 39 before Ambrose fell for 22.

Wasim Akram had the slender left-hander caught low at second slip by Younis Khan.

Wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs was removed shortly thereafter by Mushtaq, bowled off the inside edge as he tried to hit the off-spinner over the leg side field. Jacobs hit one four in scoring 10.

One run later, Akram’s bouncer accounted for left-hander Nixon Mclean, who fended to short leg.

But Sarwan remained defiant and the Guyanese brought up his half century 10 minutes before lunch by pushing his 137th delivery to mid-on for a single.

Scoreboard

Pakistan (Ist innings): 253

West Indies (Ist innings):

Campbell b Saqlain 58

Griffith c M. Khan b Waqar 4

Hinds c Haq b Waqar 165

Chanderpaul c M. Khan b Razzaq 9

Adams c Y. Khan b Saqlain 8

Sarwan not out 84

Ambrose c Y. Khan B Akram 22

Jacobs b Saqlain 10

McLean c Youhana Aakram 1

King c Mushtaq b Saqlain 2

Walsh c M. Khan b Saqlain 22

Extras (lb 6, nb 7): 13

Total (all out in 139 overs): 398

Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-144, 3-176, 4-213, 5-282, 6-321, 7-338, 8-339, 9-362, 10-398.

Bowling: Akram 33-9-84-2, Waqar 17-2-72-2, Mushtaq 22-2-65-0, Razzaq 16-3-50-1, Saqlain 51-10-121-5.

Pakistan (2nd innings)

Wasim not out 53

Nazir not out 94

Extras (lb 2, w 1, nb 2): 5

Total (for no loss in 40 overs): 152

Bowling: Ambrose 7-3-21-0, Walsh 11-2-35-0, King 8-0-31-0, McLean 4-0-20-0, Adams 8-0-30-0, Chanderpaul 2-0-13-0.
Top

 

Indonesia clinch Thomas Cup

KUALA LUMUPR, May 21 (UNI) — Indonesia emerged Thomas Cup champions once again as they defeated China 3-0 losing only one game in the bargain.

This was a real authoritative victory for the Indonesians-their 12th Thomas Cup victory, and fourth win in Thomas Cup over China. For China this is the tenth year that they go without winning the cup, their last victory coming in 1990 over Malaysia in Tokyo.

Indonesian coach Christian Hadinata said after his squad received the cup from the Malaysian King, “This time around we were the most balanced team. We had a tough time only against Denmark in our semifinals. We were sure to win as we had already defeated China in our group match here 4-1 some days ago”.

Undoubtedly, Indonesia came in as one of the most balanced teams and were hot favourites for the title. And even though there was enough support for China in the packed Putra Stadium here in Kuala Lumpur, it was Indonesia all the way.

Hendrawan, world number two, who had lost his two previous matches to Chinese all-England champion Xia Zuanze, the last one being in semis of the all-England in March, played a highly confident game today. Hendrawan lost the first game 11-15, but the Chinese had played so fast in this game that it was apparent Hendrawan, a rally specialist who controls the bird nicely, would win the next two as Xia had slowed down, this was what happened as he ran through the second game 15-7 and in the third Xia did try to keep pace till 7-7 but it was far two late.

Hendrawan maintaining the pace and control moved ahead at 13-9 when one line call in his favour annoyed Xia who was warned for rude behaviour on the court by the umpire. It was all over as Hendrawan served out the match 15-9.
Top

 

Lele: no corruption in Indian cricket

NEW DELHI, May 21 (PTI) — Cricket board secretary Jaywant Lele has said match-fixing allegations against sacked South African skipper Hansie Cronje, if proved, will have a serious impact on the game.

The BCCI secretary, who had termed allegations against Cronje in the Delhi police case as “rubbish” before the disgraced star himself admitted to taking money from a bookie, however said Indian cricket was free of corruption and top players earned enough not to get involved in match-fixing.

“Players like Sachin, Azhar and Saurav are making Rs 50 to 60 lakhs from cricket every year. Why would they engage in match-fixing?” he asked in an interview to Star TV.

Lele held that cricket being a team game, the result cannot be influenced by one or two players. “These are all allegations at the moment, nothing has been proved at any stage. I don’t see any reason to believe them,” he said about allegations of corruption being made in India.

He denied the Indian team was downcast by the controversy going into the Asia Cup that begins in Dhaka on May 28, but said pressure will be great on the players as even a dropped catch will be viewed with suspicion.

“Why only players, even we are disturbed. The BCCI is as disturbed as anyone else because these are serious allegations. If after sometime these are proved, they will have a very serious impact on everything,” he told the “Star News Sunday” programme.

Lele said the BCCI had learnt a lesson from the match-fixing controversy and will have to be more vigilant in the future.

Asked to comment on coach Kapil Dev’s stand that India should stop playing for some time till the air was cleared, Lele said “I have seen Kapil at the training camp in Pune. He is totally committed to his job”.

On demands that India should cut down on the number of matches, one-day games in particular, he said it would be better to honour commitments and win matches. “We should play well, win the tournaments and everybody will forget about match-fixing,” he said.

Asked about the code of conduct that is being drawn up, the BCCI secretary said players would be closely watched by the coach and manager “to whom they are talking, on what basis they are talking and on what subject they are talking”.


Top

 

Bindra to send reply today

NEW DELHI, May 21 (UNI) — Former BCCI President I.S. Bindra will send his point-wise response to the questions posed by the CBI tomorrow on his 360-page report about match-fixing, betting and other malpractices facing the game in the country.

The CBI, after going through the detailed document submitted by the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) president, had sent him a written questionnaire earlier this week seeking certain clarifications on the points raised in it.

The ex-BCCI chief disclosed here that he was preparing the reply and would be send it by tomorrow. “I am preparing the response and would be sending it by Monday.’’

The premier investigating agency, in its questionnaire, had sought clarifications about the data annexed by Bindra with his report, according to CBI sources.

The questionnaire also posed several other queries, but its content has widely remained unknown as both the CBI or Bindra have remained tightlipped over it.

Bindra’s examination was also dependent upon his response to the questionnaire. The agency had indicated that he could be examined, if needed, after it receives a reply from him.

Bindra had, on May 15, appeared before the CBI on his own and submitted the report after a 70-minute meeting with the investigating team, led by Joint Director R.N. Sawani. In his report, he is understood to have raised issues of TV rights of cricket matches since 1996 and about the alleged illegalities in matches played in Sharjah, Singapore and Toronto.

The CBI is probing the involvement of present and past cricketers, administrators and officials against whom charges of match-fixing, betting or indulging in any other malpractices have been levelled. The probe was handed over to the CBI by the government on April 29 and the inquiry was initiated on May 2.

The agency has so far questioned four people, including former India manager Sunil Dev. The names of the other three have not been disclosed by the CBI. Former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar’s questioning was also on the cards in the coming days.

About the report, Bindra hinted that it generally dealt with the incidence of ‘special favour given to TV companies while selling coverage rights and mushrooming of ‘masala’ (exhibition) and ‘thaila’ (money raising) matches in the off-shore countries, which have been the cause of degradation of cricket in the country.

He has so far held two meetings with the investigating team of the CBI on May 15 and 16. Though the first meeting was of over one hour and related to the submission of his report, the duration and agenda of the second meeting yet remains a mystery.


Top

 

Paper records Malik’s boast

LONDON, May 21 (AFP) — Former Pakistan cricket captain Salim Malik told undercover reporters from the News of the World that he could fix the result of any match — and had done so before in the past, the newspaper reported today.

The weekly tabloid said it had infiltrated an international match-fixing ring headed by Malik. Undercover reporters had video tapes of conversations with Malik who promised to fix matches for up to 500,000 (about Rs 3.5 crore) a game, the News of the World said.

The News of the World reporters posed as high rollers looking to bet on the results of matches.

They quoted Malik as saying: “It will be very easy for me to fix a match. The players will agree. We’ve all say together and done it before. It’s better than dealing drugs.”

“When you’ve got the main players in your hand you’ll have to be really unlucky to lose,” he reportedly said.

“You’ll have four or five players in hand and they will be playing just for you,” Malik was quoted as saying.

Cricket has been rocked by revelations of match-fixing following the confession by former South African captain Hansie Cronje that he had taken money from a bookmaker to influence a game.

Malik is the central character in Pakistan’s match-fixing controversy, but has twice been cleared by a Supreme Court judge.

He told News of the World that a controversial match during last year’s World Cup in which unfancied Bangladesh beat Pakistan had been fixed.

Another match between Australia and Pakistan in 1994 had been doubly fixed, so that both sides were trying to lose in nearly farcical circumstances, he added.
Top

 

England humiliate Zimbabwe

LONDON, May 21 (AFP) — England beat Zimbabwe by an innings and 209 runs in the first Test here at Lords today to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match cricket series.

Zimbabwe failed to recover from their overnight 39 for 5 in their second innings and were bowled out in the afternoon session for 123 — with Bryan Strang their top scorer with 37.

Rain had delayed the start of the fourth day until 2.10 pm local time (1840 hrs IST).

Zimbabwe resumed on 39 for five, still 293 runs short of an innings defeat, rain their only realistic chance of staving off defeat inside four days. Brian Murphy was 11 not out and Neil Johnson one not out.

Johnson was first to go, when on nine he edged the 16th ball of the day, a good length delivery from Andy Caddick straight to Graeme Hick at second slip to leave Zimbabwe 49 for six.

Bowling initially from the Nursery End, Caddick obtained good lift and sharp swing, while at the Pavilion End, Darren Gough initially struggled to make the batsmen play as much as he would have wanted.

SCOREBOARD

Zimbabwe (Ist innings): 83 (E. Giddins 5-15, A. Caddick 3-28).

England (Ist innings): 415 (A. Stewart 124 not out, G. Hick 101, H. Streak 6-87).

Zimbabwe (2nd innings): (overnight 39-5)

G. Flower lbw b Gough 2

Gripper c Knight b Gough 5

Goodwin lbw b Caddick 11

Campbell lbw b Gough 4

Murphy lbw b Giddins 14

A. Flower lbw b Gough 2

Johnson c Hick b Caddick 9

Whittall c Hick b Caddick 23

Streak c Knight b Giddins 0

Strang not out 37

Mbangwa b Caddick 8

Extras (LB-1 NB-7) 8

Total (all out, 38.2 overs) 123

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-7, 3-18, 4-33, 5-36, 6-49, 7-74, 8-74, 9-92.

Bowling: Gough 15-3-57-4 (NB 3), Caddick 16.2-5-38-4 (NB 4), Giddins 7-3-27-2.
Top

 

Safin knocks out Rios

HAMBURG, May 21 (AFP) — Brazilian fifth seed Gustavo Kuerten made a slow start but still reached the final of the $ 2.95 million Hamburg Masters Series last night with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Romanian qualifier Andrei Pavel.

In the final he will face Russian 12th seed Marat Safin, who knocked out defending champion Marcelo Rios of Chile 7-6 (10/8), 6-2 in one hour 30 minutes to reach his third final inside a month having already won in Barcelona and Mallorca this year.

Kuerten, who ended the hopes of Champions Race leader Magnus Norman of Sweden in the quarterfinals, won in one hour 7 minutes to become the first Brazilian to make the final here having previously suffered two quarterfinal exits.

Although 1997 French Open champion Kuerten will start as favourite, Safin, whose win over Rios propels him into the world top 10, actually has a hold over him having won all of their meetings to date.

Both, 23-year-old Kuerten, who now goes second behind Norman in the Champions Race standings ahead of Andre Agassi from his pre-Hamburg position of sixth, and Safin (20) lost the opening three games of their respective matches before advancing with strong second set showings.

“I’m really happy. It’s the first time I’ve made the final and I’m having fun here,” said Kuerten afterwards.

“I tried to mix up the tempo — slow it down, then add a little pace. I’m really happy as I only recently came back from injury then reached the final (in Rome) last week and now here I am in another final,” said the samba star, who sent over a brilliant return when Pavel had a point for 4-0.
Top

 

Dyson pips Randhawa for title

SHANGHAI, May 21 (UNI) — England’s Simon Dyson pipped India’s Jyoti Randhawa as he sank a nerve-jangling eight footer for par at the last to lift the $ 400,000 Volvo China open by one stroke today and became only the third man to secure two consecutive wins on the Davidoff Tour.

The 22-year-old Dyson, who won the Macau Open last week for his maiden professional victory, provided a miraculous and dramatic finish by saving par at the 18th par five hole at Shanghai Silport Golf Club despite a penalty stroke after landing in the water hazard with a wayward drive.

With his hands trembling as he faced a testing putt for victory and the $ 72,000 winner’s cheque, Dyson courageously rolled in the last shot of the tournament to pip India’s Jyoti Randhawa for the title.

The Yorkshireman finished the day on one-under-par 71 for a tournament total of 13-under-par 275 while Randhawa, the Indian Open winner, settled for second place after a gallant charge with a superb bogey-free 67 in the final round for his 276 aggregate.

Dyson said: “I can’t believe it. It’s a good feeling and I can put it to words. They say the first is special but this one feels so great because the Volvo China Open is a big event in Asia. It’s just fantastic to win two-in-a-row. That last putt for victory is the most pressure-packed one that I’ve had to face in my career. When I was cleaning the ball, my hands were trembling. I told myself to keep the stroke smooth and not to leave it at the jaw because that would have been devastating. I’m glad it rolled in. When I called home to relay the news, my mum just burst into tears.’’

Taking a three shot lead into the final day, Dyson, who played in the victorious Walker Cup team for Great Britain and Ireland last year before joining the paid ranks, got into full flight with a birdie at the first hole. He bogeyed the sixth by landing in the water hazard but bounced back superbly with three birdies on the trot for an outward 33.
Top

 

Kunte emerges sole leader

MUMBAI, May 21 (PTI) — Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte shot into sole lead with a thumping victory over double IM norm holder Sunderarajan Kidambi in the fifth round of the 37th National ‘A’ Chess Championship here today.

Playing with white pieces Kunte opened with the king pawn and was up against the Sicilian Scheveningen of Kidambi, an exponent of the system himself, Kunte played the ultra sharp English attack.

Players followed a previous game amongst themselves and Kunte was the first to vary on his 14th turn. Kunte’s homework paid heavy dividends as the former junior national champion Kidambi went for a dubious attack against the white king.

An attack on the king’s wing was unleashed soon by Kunte and Kidambi’s king came under tremendous pressure. A finely crafted knight manoeuvre won a piece and the game for Kunte (4 points) after only 23 moves.

GM Pravin Thipsay bounced back into the reckoning with a hard-fought victory over former Commonwealth Champion IM Atanu Lahiri in a Kings Indian defence game with black pieces.
Top

 

Chelsea beat Aston Villa to lift FA Cup

LONDON, May 21 (AFP) Chelsea won the 72nd FA Cup final at Wembley last night beating Aston Villa 1-0 with a goal from Roberto di Matteo after 73 minutes securing the trophy, their third ever and second in four years, and a place in next season’s UEFA Cup competition.

The Wembley showpiece was the last final to be played at the national stadium before it undergoes a multi-million pound reconstruction starting in October, including the removal of the famous twin towers.

Di Matteo, capped 34 times for Italy, struck with 17 minutes to go, lashing home from close-range after Villa keeper David James failed to hold Gianfranco Zola’s free-kick.

The 29 year-old Italian wrote himself into the record books in the 1997 final by scoring the fastest Wembley Cup final goal ever after 42 seconds in Chelsea’s 2-0 triumph over Middlesbrough.

“The first time I scored it was for my sister .. This time it’s for my girlfriend!” the Italian said.

Chelsea’s Italian coach Gianluca Vialli, who had been under pressure after Chelsea failed to qualify for Europe through the Premiership, was a relieved man.

“We were the better team but they made it hard for us,” he said. “However, this is a just reward for us as we have played very well this season without a lot of luck and the players have performed well under all the pressure,” he added.

Chelsea captain Dennis Wise, who had a goal ruled out for offside early in the second-half, choked back the tears.

“It’s a great feeling and particularly with all my family here and even my father up there,” said Wise. “I thought my goal was good but it doesn’t matter now as I am going to climb up the steps and collect the trophy ... we deserve it!”

Aston Villa’s former England international midfielder Paul Merson, a Chelsea supporter, was philosophical in defeat.

“They pulled away from us in the second-half and were far and away the better team,” he said.

“They did things that we couldn’t even dream of doing and showed us what a gap there is between the top five teams in the premiership and the rest like us.

“It’s disappointing obviously but if you don’t take half chances against teams of that quality then you pay for it,” he added.

George Weah was the surprise inclusion in the Chelsea side with the Liberian striker being preferred by Vialli instead of Norwegian Tore Andre Flo.

There were no surprises in the Villa line up with Ian Taylor and George Boateng getting the nod in midfield while Benito Carbone was preferred up front to Julian Joachim.

A mass of fireworks greeted the two teams as they stepped out onto the pitch — but when the action got underway there were few early goalmouth scares.

After a tentative start by both teams the game sprang into life after 10 minutes. Wise unleashed a right-foot volley on the edge of the box after Gianfranco Zola’s cross was headed clear but the Chelsea captain’s effort was comfortably saved by James on goal-line.

A minute later Mark Delaney went tearing down the right wing before crossing for Dion Dublin whose header was deflected wide of the upright.

England under-21 star Gareth Barry was booked by referee Graham Poll — England’s representative at Euro 2000 next month - after 17 minutes for a late tackle on Mario Melchiot, who was also shown a yellow card two minutes later for a foul on Barry.

After 26 minutes Wise joined them in Poll’s notebook for clattering Boateng while the energetic Merson’s long-range effort sailed over Ed De Goey’s crossbar moments later.

Chelsea and Villa hold the second and third best defensive records in the Premiership respectively, so it was no great surprise chances were at a premium in the opening 45 minutes.

Villa went close three minutes after the break when Gareth Southgate headed just over the bar while at the other end Frenchman Didier Deschamps and Zola combined to set up Weah whose low right foot shot flashed inches wide of the post.

Gustavo Poyet then became the fourth player to be booked for fouling Boateng a minute later.

After 54 minutes Wise thought he had given Chelsea the lead. James failed to hold Di Matteo’s stinging shot and the Chelsea skipper slid the ball home. Wise ran off celebrating but Poll had already blown the whistle for an offside decision against Weah.

With half an hour to go Weah should have scored when he met Zola’s curling cross but the Liberian shot wide from close range with just the keeper to beat.

After 69 minutes Dublin found himself free in the Chelsea penalty area but could not get enough power behind his header and De Goey watched the ball sail over the crossbar.

Four minutes later Chelsea went in front. Melchiot’s surging run was halted on the edge of the Villa penalty area and Zola stepped up to take the free-kick.

The diminutive Sardinian whipped the ball into the box and James and Southgate between them failed to clear the danger leaving Di Matteo to rifle the ball high into the roof of the net.

Villa then went straight up the other end and almost drew level when Carbone had a shot cleared off the line by French International Frank Leboeuf.
Top

 

Torch relay may bypass Fiji

SYDNEY, May 21 (AP) — The Olympic torch relay will bypass Fiji if the Pacific island nation is deemed too unsafe after an armed uprising in Parliament, the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) said today.

Torch manager Di Henry said she was being constantly updated with reports on the stability in Fiji after Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry was detained along with members of his cabinet by armed gunmen.

The Olympic torch was officially handed over to Australia yesterday in a ceremony at the Panathinaikon stadium which hosted the 1896 games. Tomorrow will herald the start in Guam of the 17-day Oceania torch relay.

Fiji is scheduled for June 3, but Ms Henry said contingencies were in place if the island was still unsafe.

“At this stage, we’re monitoring the situation, and we’ll make the call in about a week,” she said. “DFAT (the Australian department of foreign affairs and trade) are keeping us informed and we’ll just take their cue.

“We have contingencies in place if it’s deemed unsafe.”

Ms Henry said spending more time in either Vanuatu or Tonga, scheduled either side of Fiji, was a strong possibility.
Top

 

Aborigines urged to protest at Olympics

CANBERRA, May 21 (AP) — Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins has encouraged Aborigines from across Australia to converge on Sydney to protest peacefully during the Olympic Games.

Mr Perkins said the 2000 Games, to be held in Sydney in September, were the perfect opportunity for Aboriginal people to tell the world about the racist nation Australia has become.

“Come to Sydney and protest, let’s all protest in a peaceful manner, this is a democracy and let’s do it whether it is on the streets or in selected areas and, let’s make our opinions and our voices known to the Australian people and to the international press,” he told Channel Ten television’s meet the press program.

Earlier this year, Mr Perkins said the Sydney Olympics would erupt in burning cars and burning buildings.

He warned tourists not to come to Sydney because it had turned nasty and ugly and the row over the stolen generation of Aboriginal children would force direct conflict between black and white Australians.

“(It’s going to be) burn, baby, burn, from now on,” he said at the time.

“We are not going to lie down like a mongrel dog so people can come along and kick us. We are going to start biting.”

Today he said those comments had been taken out of context.

“What I was trying to tell people was that when you have about 20,000 to 30,000 people in the streets, Aboriginal people and white people in the streets, protesting about what is happening in this country, and using the Olympic Games and the event to make that protest, anything can happen and maybe cars will get burned an d buildings will get burned,” he said.

“I am not advocating that that happens but I am saying it might get out of control. The fact is you can’t guarantee anything when you have big demonstrations.”
Top

 

Fine bowling spell
by Ankur Jund
From Our Sports Reporter

PATIALA May 21 — A devastating bowling spell by Ankur Jund (5 for 8) enabled the NICS Cricket Academy to inflict a huge 112-run defeat on the Ambala Cant Cricket Club in the Patiala District (U-14) Pepsi Hot Weather Tournament League match played at the MES Grounds here today.

NICS, opting to bat after the coin dropped in their favour, piled up 158 all out. Right arm off-spinner Ankur Jund knocked the heart of the rival team’s batting by taking five crucial wickets for a measly 8 runs, bundling out the Ambala Youngsters for just 58 runs.

Brief scores: NICS Academy: 158 all out (Harsh 36, Navjot 24, Ishpreet 24, Amit 3 for 19, Nitin 3 for 35).

Ambala Cant Club: 56 all out: (Neerajpal 12, Ankur Jund 5 for 8 Navjot 1 for 9, Hardevinder Singh 1 for 8). Ankur Jund was declared the boy of the match.
Top

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
|
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
|
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |