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Monday, January 11, 2010

Selangor Takes Charity Cup (BERNAMA)


SEREMBAN, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- Selangor began the 2010 Super League season in style when they lifted the Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup after beating Negeri Sembilan 2-1 in the charity match at Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium, Paroi here Saturday night.

The host team opened accounts and thrilled the 25,000 spectators after Idris Karim headed in a free-kick taken by captian Rezal Zambery Yahya to beat Selangor keeper Hamsani Ahmad in the 27th minute.

The match was witnessed by Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, Tunku Besar Tampin Syed Razman Syed Idrus Al Qadri, Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

After the interval, the 'The Red Giants' coached by K. Devan leveled the score at the 76th minute with a goal by Safee Sali and seven minutes later D. Surendran put in the winning goal for Selangor.

Meanwhile, at the Tan Sri Dato' Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium, Larkin, Azlan Ismail was the hero of Kedah after hitting in a hattrick in the 32th, 81st and 86th minutes to defeat Johor.

In Kuantan, the Tok Gajah squad got three full points after beating Perak 2-1 at Darul Makmur Stadium with goals by Mohd Shahrizan Mohd Salleh in the 31st minutr and by Azammuddin Mohd Akil in the 49th minute.

However, Perak had opened score with a penalty by Muhammad Nazri Mohd Kamal in the 22th minute after Pahang defender Mohd Fadzirul Zakaria hard-tackled opponent Mohamad Khalis Ibrahim in the penalty box.

In the Utama Stadium, Kangar, Mohd Ridzuwan Ma'on gave three full points to Johor FC sending in a volley in the 61st minute to defeat the host Perlis' keeper , Mohd Farizal Marlias.

Meanwhile, in the Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya Stadium, KL Plus FC dispatched Penang 3-1 with goals by Mohd Fadzli Saari (47th min), Mohd Lot Abu Hassan (56) and Mohd Nazrin Nawi (92).

Penang's solitary goal was by Mohd Failee Mohammad Ghazali as early as the third minute.

In other matches, Kuala Lumpur and T-Team drew 1-1 at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium while Terengganu and Kelatan shared points with a scoreless draw at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.

-- BERNAMA

KAFA To Offer Awards To Journalist In Four Categories (BERNAMA)

KOTA BAHARU, Jan 11 (Bernama) -- The Kelantan Football Association (KAFA) on Monday announced an awards scheme to honour journalists who had contributed their services to the association.

Chief Executive Officer for KAFA, Tuan Hashim Tuan Yaacob said the awards would have four categories - best pictures, best news coverage, best audio visual and best blogger.

"The work of all journalists will be adjudged from reports that appear in the local media - print and electronic media - throughout the year, except for the bloggers category," he told reporters here.

Tuan Hashim said the winner of the best picture award would also be based on pictures that appeared in the local dailies.

"The award for the journalist will depend on reports, namely positive reports on the Kelantan team and KAFA, including comments from others, throughout the year," he said.

-- BERNAMA

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chong Wei Will Not Have It Easy Winning Sixth Malaysian Open Title (BERNAMA)

SHAH ALAM, Jan 5 (Bernama) -- Datuk Lee Chong Wei will not have it easy winning his sixth Malaysian Open Super Series title when this year's edition of the tournament kicks off on Jan 19 at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil here.

The first round should not be a problem for the world's top ranked men's singles player as he will be facing England's Rajiv Ouseph but the formidable Park Sung Hwan of South Korea stands in his way in the second round.

Should he get past Park, it is likely that he will face Chen Jin of China in the last eight and either Taufik Hidayat (Indonesia) or Bao Chunlai (China) in the semis.

His arch foe, Lin Dan (World Number Two), however,is not expected to face any difficulty in making the final with his biggest obstacles being Simon Santoso (Indonesia) or Peter Gade Christensen (Denmark).

National singles coach Rashid Sidek admitted as such.

"Nevertheless, I am still hoping Chong Wei will perform well to grab his sixth Malaysian Open title," he told reporters after attending the draw for the tournament, which offers overall prize money of USD250,000 (RM846,250), here Tuesday.

On injuries Chong Wei experienced lately, Rashid said the Beijing Olympics silver medallist had recovered and was undergoing training as normal.

"He (Chong Wei) will also be taking part in the Korean Open whick kicks off on Tuesday and I am certain he is fully prepared," added Rashid.

Chong Wei won the Malaysian Open Super Series in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.

As for the men's doubles, Malaysia's top pair Koo Kean Keat-Tan Boon Heong are not expected to face much difficulty in reaching the last four where they are likely to meet Indonesia pair Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan.

South Korean crack pair Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae on the other hand are expected to breeze into the final.

-- BERNAMA

Jadual Liga Super 2010 pasukan Kelantan



Kelantan All Primed Up To Take On Terengganu Saturday (BERNAMA)

KOTA BAHARU, Jan 5 (Bernama) -- Kelantan are all primed up to take on Terenganu in their opening match of this season's Super League on Saturday.


Coach B Sathianatan said all 25 players in the team were geared up for the match although some of the senior players were nursing injuries.

"Preparations are going smoothly since the team's return from Bangkok after playing a friedly match in the Thai capital. We are raring for action," he told reporters after attending a motivation session together with the players at the Kelantan FA's headquarters here on Tuesday.

Also present to give the boys a pep talk was Zaitun Othman, the National Sports Council's Organisations and Athletes Affairs Division director.

Sathianathan said the "Red Warriors" line up for this season had been further beefed up with the inclusion of new hirings like Syed Adney Syed Hussien (My-Team),Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (My-Team), Shakir Shaari (My-Team), S. Chanturu (Penang), S. Subramaniam (Perak), Akmal Rizal Rakhli (KM Naza),Azizi Che Ros (Perlis) and Hairuddin Omar (T-Team).

He said the injured list included Nor Farhan Mohamad, S. Chanturu and Zamri Ramli but it should not pose a problem when they meet the "Turtles".

-- BERNAMA

Fernandes beli West Ham (Utusan Melayu Online)



Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes


KUALA LUMPUR - Dua tokoh korporat tempatan, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes dan Datuk Kamaruddin Meranum kini di peringkat akhir untuk membeli kelab bola sepak Liga Perdana England, West Ham United.

Sumber memberitahu, pembelian kelab yang dibimbing oleh Gianfranco Zola itu akan dimuktamadkan dalam tempoh dua minggu akan datang.

Katanya, menerusi pembelian tersebut, Fernandes, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Kumpulan AirAsia Bhd. (AirAsia) dan Kamaruddin, Timbalan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutifnya, akan memegang 51 peratus saham kelab tersebut.

''Pemilikan kelab West Ham oleh kedua-dua tokoh korporat itu adalah pelaburan peribadi dan ia tidak melibatkan kepentingan syarikat AirAsia,'' kata sumber tersebut.

Fernandes merupakan penyokong setia West Ham.

Beliau juga adalah Ketua Pasukan Lotus F1 Racing manakala Kamaruddin merupakan Pengarah pasukan yang akan beraksi dalam perlumbaan Formula Satu (F1) musim ini.

Tambah sumber tersebut, pemilikan kelab England itu turut membuktikan kemampuan rakyat Malaysia membeli sebuah kelab yang beraksi dalam liga bola sepak terkemuka di dunia.

''Pemilikan West Ham oleh kedua-dua tokoh korporat itu kena pada masanya kerana ketika ini para pemain bola sepak negara sedang mencari kelab untuk berlatih di Eropah.

''Atas semangat 1Malaysia, saya percaya mereka tiada halangan untuk memberi kebenaran jika Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) mahu menempatkan para pemain negara di West Ham,'' kata sumber tersebut..

West Ham United berpusat di Upton Park, timur London, menduduki tangga keempat tercorot Liga Perdana England dengan mengumpul 18 mata dari 20 perlawanan, di depan, Bolton, Hull dan Portsmouth.

Antara pemain utama West termasuk Scott Parker, pemain kebangsaan England, Matthew Upson, penjaga gol Robert Green serta Kieron Dyer.

Musim lalu, West Ham menduduki tempat kesembilan dan kedudukan terbaik kelab itu dalam Liga Perdana ialah di tangga kelima pada 1998-99.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tennis 'Divas' Thrill Local Fans With Sensational Tennis (BERNAMA)





From Ahmad Kamal Dahalan ', TEXTFONT, 'Verdana, Arial, Helvetica', TEXTSIZE, '1', WIDTH, 75)" onmouseout="nd()">SHAH ALAM, Dec 19 (Bernama) -- Tennis superstars, Sania Mirza, Elena Dementieva, Maria Kirilenko and Zheng Jie gave the local fans their money's worth with some sensational tennis action in the "Showdown of Champions" at the Malawati Stadium here on Saturday night.

Dementieva, the world number five, and her partner Kirilenko (world number 62) both from Russia overcame Asian representatives Zheng Jie from China and Mirza from India 2-1 in a pulsating match that was decided by a tie-break.

Though the Russian duo took the first set 6-4, largely due to numerous mistakes by Zheng early in the match, the Asian duo fought back superbly to draw level with a 7-5 win in the second set.

The Russians however, turned on their power to walk away with a 10-8 victory in the deciding tie-break.

Tomorrow, Dementieva will take on Sania in a singles match while Kirilenko is slated to face Zheng in another tie.

--BERNAMA



Preparations To Start Early For 2011 Sea Games - Ahmad Shabery (BERNAMA)



KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 21 (Bernama) -- Preparations for the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia is expected to start early although the Laos SEA Games had just ended three days ago.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek who has directed the National Sports Council (NSC) to start preparations early, said since Indonesia are expected to host the 2011 SEA Games in June, there would only be 18 months before the next SEA Games.

"Furthermore, we have to start preparing all the logistics involved, including the delegation of duties for officers involved since the Games will be hosted at four main venues," he told reporters after chairing the NSC's Board meeting here on Monday.

Indonesia which has a population of 222 million are said to have scheduled the Games at four venues - Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and Semarang.

Ahmad Shabery said the meeting also adopted a proposal to take a different approach since other countries have managed to achieve a better ranking in the Laos SEA Games.

"It must be given proper attention because it is what the people want. Like football being the most popular sport, we need to defend the gold medal. We have also won the football gold in the 1979 Jakarta SEA Games," he said.

Meanwhile, NSC director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong said preparations for the 2011 SEA Games would start soon.

He added that since the allocation for the NSC had been reduced, the council would be prudent in their spending.

"Though we will be prudent, sports that did well in Laos, like boxing and silat will be allocated additional funds for their preparations. It was also agreed during the meeting to send 12 coaches for a one year stint in Canada as part of preparations for the 2012 London Olympics," he said.

He added that though NSC has yet to identify the 12 coaches, there was a possibility that the coaches would be among those involved in the Road To London 2012 programme involving badminton, archery, cycling and diving.

-- BERNAMA


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Video Pilihan : Perlis Vs Kelantan di Stadium Utama Kangar

Chief Striker Zaquan Rushed To Laos (BERNAMA)


PETALING JAYA, Dec 15 (Bernama) -- National striker Mohd Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak who recovered from an eye infection, was today rushed to Laos in efforts to beef up coach K. Rajagobal's squad that face Vietnam in the final, on Thursday.

Zaquan who was sent home to receive treatment for an eye infection has been certified fit to play by medical officers said Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad here Tuesday.

"He left to Laos this morning to join the rest of the players in the squad, currently preparing for the final, following a request from Rajagobal," he said.

Malaysia who qualified for the final after beating Laos 3-1 in yesterday's semi-final, will face Vietnam on Thursday, in what will be a repeat of their group match which was won by Vietnam (3-1).

Zaquan's presence would provide Rajagobal more options in attack since he would also have Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Mohd Fakri Saarani and Abdul Manaf Mamat.

Azzuddin also urged athletes and players in the Malaysian contingent who do not have events on that day, to be at the stadium to drum up support for the national team since Rajagobal's boys would be out to end a 20-year wait for the gold in the SEA Games football competition.

Malaysia last won the gold when Malaysia hosted the 1989 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

-- BERNAMA

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Indra Putra Mahayuddin


First name : Indra Putra

Last name : Mahayuddin

Nationality : Malaysia (Perak)

Date of birth : 2 September 1981

Country of birth : Malaysia

Position : Attacker
Team: Kelantan F.A


Norshahrul Idlan Talaha


First name : Norshahrul Idlan
Last name : Talaha

Nationality : Malaysia (Terengganu)

Date of birth : 8 June 1986

Country of birth : Malaysia

Position : Attacking Midfielder, Striker
Team : Kelantan F.A

Malaysia In Football Final After 3-1 Win Over Laos (BERNAMA)



From Zulhilmi Supaat ', TEXTFONT, 'Verdana, Arial, Helvetica', TEXTSIZE, '1', WIDTH, 75)" onmouseout="nd()">VIENTIANE, Dec 14 (Bernama) -- Malaysia have the chance to end their 20-year gold drought when their men's Under-23 squad play in the final of the SEA Games football competition after trouncing Laos 3-1 at the Main Stadium, National Sports Complex, here, Monday.

Malaysia will on Thursday play against Vietnam who thrashed Singapore 4-1 in another semi-final match at the Chaou Anouvong Stadium, near here.

Two of Malaysia's goals came from Baddrol Bakhtiar in the 13th and 79th minute, with Safiq Rahim scoring the third goal in the 84th minute.

Although the Main Stadium was filled by 23,000 home fans, K.Rajagobal's boys started confidently and made several dangerous moves to test their Laotian opponents.

The two teams did not meet at the group stage. Malaysia were runners-up in Group A while Laos topped Group B.

The last time Malaysia played in a SEA Games semi-final was in 2005 in the Philippines.

Baddrol's goal was the result of a cross from Abdul Manaf Mamat in front of the goal mouth and Baddrol did a scissor kick, sending the ball into the back of the net.

Feeling comfortable with that first goal, the Malaysians slowed down the pace.

Realising the fragility of the defence, Rajagopal took out Sabree Mat Abu to be replaced by Muhamad Azmi Muslim.

It was rather too late as Laos equalised in the 72nd minute with a strike from Kanlaya Sysomvang after he tricked Malaysia's defence.

However, seven minutes later, Baddrol was Malaysia's hero with a second goal.

In the tussle in front of the goal mouth, S.Kunalan's attempt hit the goal post before Baddrol swiftly followed up.

Safiq's goal, the third for Malaysia, came from a pass to him from Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.

The last time Malaysia won gold in football at the Games was in Kuala Lumpur in 1989, under British coach Trevor Hartley.

Since then, Malaysia managed only a silver in the 2001 edition of the Games in Kuala Lumpur when the competition format was changed to allow only the Under-23 teams to compete, and then won a bronze in 2003 in Vietnam and in 2005 in the Philippines.

In the 2007 Games, Malaysia had an early exit at the group stage.

For the record, Malaysia last met Laos in the Jakarta SEA Games in 1997 where Laos beat Malaysia 1-0.

Malaysia began the challenge in Group A this time by thrashing Timor Leste 11-0, lost 1-3 to Vietnam, and won 4-0 against Cambodia before their shocking 3-1 win over Thailand, the defending champions in the last eight editions of the Games.

Laos, top in Group B, drew 1-1 with Myanmar, the runners-up at the Korat SEA Games in 2007, before defeating Indonesia 2-0 and drawing 0-0 against Singapore, the runners-up in Group B.

-- BERNAMA



Rajagobal Mulling Strategy To Win Gold (BERNAMA)


From Zulhilmi Supaat ', TEXTFONT, 'Verdana, Arial, Helvetica', TEXTSIZE, '1', WIDTH, 75)" onmouseout="nd()">VIENTIANE, Dec 15 (Bernama) -- While the Malaysian media were congratulating K. Rajagobal after his boys defeated hosts Laos to go into the football final of the 25th SEA Games, the coach's frowned expression suggested that he was thinking hard.

Perhaps he was thinking of ways to fire up the spirits of his squad who will meet Vietnam in the final on Thursday. Vietnam had beaten Malaysia 3-1 in the second match in Group A on Dec 6.

"Maybe I shouldn't be talking too much and let the players think for themselves how to boost their own spirits and win the final," he said after the Malaysia-Laos semi-final match at the Main Stadium, National Sports Complex, here, Monday night.

Vietnam were top in Group A and Malaysia the runners-up.

In another semi-final match at the Chaou Anouvong Stadium, here, Vietnam trounced Group B runners-up Singapore 4-1.

The Malaysian Under-23 squad, not expected to go into the final, beat the hosts 3-1, giving them a chance to win gold since Malaysia last did at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in 1989.

On Monday's match, Rajagobal said after Baddrol Bakhtiar scored the first goal in the 13th minute, there was a lapse of concentration and his boys allowed their opponents to control play.

But they got a wake-up call when Laos equalised in the 72nd minute through Kanlaya Sysomvang and then started to play more attacking football.

Rajagobal said not many people realised how difficult it was for the Malaysian squad playing against Laos as they were without their regular strikers.

"Mohamad Zaquan Abdul Radzak is still injured while Ahmad Fakri Saarani and Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal are suspended.

"I only had a midfielder of calibre, Safiq Rahim, and he proved his capability," said a relieved Rajagobal.

While controlling the midfield, Safiq also gave Malaysia's third goal in the match. Baddrol had earlier scored the second goal in the 79th minute.

Laos coach Alfred Riedl said Malaysia controlled the first-half and his charges the second.

"But lady luck was not on our side as Malaysia managed to find our net twice in the second-half," said the Austrian coach.

In their last meeting at the Jakarta SEA Games in 1997, Laos beat Malaysia 1-0.

-- BERNAMA



Men's Singles Badminton Fail In First Round (BERNAMA)


From Jumiati Rosly ', TEXTFONT, 'Verdana, Arial, Helvetica', TEXTSIZE, '1', WIDTH, 75)" onmouseout="nd()">VIENTIANE, Dec 15 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's challenge in the badminton men's singles at the Laos SEA Games ended as early as in the first round when Muhammad Hafiz Hashim and Liew Daren lost their matches at Gymnasium 1, National Sports Complex, here.

Without the presence of world number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Malaysia had to forget about a gold medal in the men's singles.

However, Malaysia's men's doubles pairs of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Mohd Fairuzizuan Tazari-Mohd Zakry Latif, and women's singles Wong Mew Choo and Lydia Cheah will be in the quarter-finals Tuesday.

So will the women's doubles pairs of Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui and Woon Khe Wei-Chong Sook Chin, and mixed double pairs of Koo Kien Keat-Wong Pei Tty and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying.

Hafiz lost to Sony Dwi Kuncoro for the second time in a row in a three-set match with scores of 12-21, 21-19, 14-21.

The chance given to Liew Daren to fill the vacancy left by Chong Wei failed to bear fruit when the young player lost to an unknown, Vietnam's Nguyen Hoang Hai 9-21, 15-21.

In the women's singles, Mew Choo was given a bye in the opening round, but will face a still fight in a quarter-final match Tuesday Olympic bronze medallist, Maria Kristin from Indonesia.

Lydia beat Nhung Le Nguyen from Vietnam, 14-21, 21-12, 21-12, to face Zhang Beiwen from Singapore.

Malaysia's number one doubles Kien Keat-Boon Heong, however, had to go into the third set to defeat Bodin Isara-Maneepong Jongjit 14-21, 21-12, 23-21, while Mohd Fairuzizuan-Mohd Zakry had to fight hard to overcome Vietnam's Bui Bang Duc-Dao Manh Thang 21-15, 18-21, 21-10.

After Sunday's victory in the women's team event, Khe Wei returned to her original partner Chong Sook Chin and defeated Khonesanith Inthavanh-Manivone Meungchaleun 21-8, 21-11.

Pei Tty-Eei Hui, who received a bye in the first round, will face Frances Liu-Vanesa Neo from Singapore Tuesday.

Malaysia will also continue its challenge in the mixed doubles after Kien Keat-Pei Tty defeated Jeffrey Wong-Fu Mingtian from Singapore 21-17, 21-10, while Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying beat the Vietnames pair of Duong Bao Duc-Thai Thi Hong 21-15, 21-11.

-- BERNAMA

Monday, December 14, 2009

Malaysia-Laos Football Semifinal May Be Telecast Live (BERNAMA)


VIENTIANE, Dec 13 (Bernama) -- The Malaysia-Laos football semifinal match of the 25th SEA Games here may be telecast live to Malaysia.

The match is scheduled for 8 pm (Malaysian time) tomorrow at the National Stadium of the National Sports Complex.

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim told Malaysian reporters on Sunday, the ministry, through the National Sports Council, was discussing the matter with the Information Communication and Culture Ministry.

The Malaysian squad, under coach K. Rajagobal, entered the semifinals after beating eight-time consecutive champion Thailand 2-1 in the last match of Group A on Friday.

Malaysia last won the football gold medal in the biennial SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1989. The coach then was Trevor Hartley of Britain.

-- BERNAMA

Do Not Bask In Glory Of Having Beaten Thailand - Coach Rajagobal (BERNAMA)


From Zulhilmi Supaat



VIENTIANE, Dec 13 (Bernama) -- Malaysian players have been reminded not to bask in the glory of having beaten eight-time champions Thailand but to focus on the match against host Laos in the semifinal on Monday of the SEA Games football competition.

National head coach K. Rajagobal said one of the challenges tomorrow would be to focus on the game in the Main Stadium of the Laos National Sports Complex here where 20,000 supporters are expected to be cheering the home team.

Rajagobal had earlier taken the Malaysian squad through a light training session at the Laos Football Federation field here.

Malaysia, who were not given any hope of making it to the semifinals especially when they had to get past Thailand who have not missed a semifinal in 36 years, beat Thailand 2-1 in the final match of their group last Friday.

Malaysia will face Laos in their semifinal match at 7pm (8pm in Malaysia), and the match is likely to be telecast live to Malaysia over TV2 with the cooperation of the Information Communication and Culture Ministry and the Youth and Sports Ministry.

Rajagobal said he was without three key players, Ahmad Fakri Saarani, Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal and Mohamad Zaquan Adha Abd Radzak.

Ahmad Fakri and Mohd Amirulhadi have been suspended for one match after being shown a second yellow card in the match against Thailand.

Striker Mohamad Zaquan Adha, who can play following his two-match suspension, is suffering from an eye ailment and is seeking treatment back in Kuala Lumpur. He was shown the red card in the match against Vietnam.

"I have been in contact with him and, according to him, he is recovering following a medical examination this morning," he said, but added that bringing Mohamad Zaquan Adha for tomorrow's match would depend on his health and the flight schedule.

Vietnam will play Singapore in the other semifinal match, also at the same time, at the Chou Anouvong Stadium near here.

-- BERNAMA

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chelsea draws with Everton, Aston Villa beat MU 1-0 (THE STAR)


LONDON (AP): Chelsea stretched its lead over Manchester United at the top of the Premier League to three points despite a 3-3 draw with Everton after the defending champion lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa.

Didier Drogba scored twice as Chelsea recovered from an early own-goal by goalkeeper Petr Cech, but Everton fought back to equalize twice and secure a valuable point in its efforts to move away from the bottom of the standings.

Chelsea had not conceded a goal at Stamford Bridge since the opening day of the season in August.

It has now lost its perfect home record and has not won for four matches, but was helped by United's fourth loss of the season.

Gabriel Agbonlahor scored for Villa in the 21st minute with a header from Ashley Young's curling left-wing cross.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, right, looks on as a shot rebounds off the crossbar during his team's English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday Dec. 12, 2009. Aston Villa won the game 1-0.

"Who can say we are in crisis?" Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "I don't think so. I want to be objective and, when I look at the game and the way we played, I saw that my team played very well.

"We still have the same chance to win the title. It will be a long race until the end of the season. The Premier League is very competitive."

Also Saturday, Manchester City equalized three times to hold Bolton 3-3 and draw for the eighth time in nine Premier League games, while Tottenham's hopes of staying in contention for Champions League qualification took a big hit with a 1-0 loss against visiting Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Chelsea was undone by poor defending at set pieces.

Yakubu Ayegbeni had only just come on as a substitute when he made it 2-2 in first-half injury time following John Terry's failure to clear a throw and, although Drogba restored Chelsea's lead in the 59th minute, Louis Saha scored for 3-3 four minutes later.

Drogba was helping out in defense but headed a free kick by Johnny Heitinga into Saha's back and the ball bounced over Cech and into the empty net.

"To come here and get a draw, especially with the players we played, is terrific," Everton manager David Moyes said of his injury-hit side. "We deserved it. We never gave in when we went behind."

Everton had led in the 12th when Saha's header from a free kick hit the post and rebounded into the net off Cech's back. Ricardo Carvalho and Frank Lampard set up Drogba for an equalizer five minutes later, and Nicolas Anelka made it 2-1 in the 23rd with a close-range shot into the roof of the net.

Drogba has now scored 18 goals this season and Anelka has seven but Chelsea has conceded 10 goals in four games.

Villa rarely threatened apart from when Agbonlahor hit his eighth league goal of the season. United striker Wayne Rooney had plenty of possession but was below the form that brought him 11 Premier League goals so far this season.

United brought on Michael Owen, Dimitar Berbatov and Darron Gibson in search of a goal and continued to dominate without reward. Berbatov was unmarked in front of goal but completely missed Michael Carrick's cross and Nemanja Vidic had a header blocked on the line.

United has 34 points to Chelsea's 37. Villa's first win at Old Trafford since 1983 lifted it two places to third, although Arsenal could retake third if it beats Liverpool in Sunday's only game.

Carlos Tevez scored two of Manchester City's goals to take his tally to five in the Premier League, while Tottenham had 83 minutes plus injury time to recover from a third-minute goal by Wolves striker Kevin Doyle but still lost a third home game of the season.

"The players were magnificent for 96 minutes," Wolves manager Mick McCarthy said.

Birmingham moved to within three points of Spurs with midfielder Lee Bowyer scoring for a 1-0 win over former club West Ham, Fulham drew 1-1 at Burnley and last-place Portsmouth equalized in the final minute for a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

But Portsmouth's Younes Kaboul got a second yellow card for removing his shirt in celebration of his goal and was sent off.

In the other games, Blackburn drew 0-0 with Hull and Maynor Figueroa scored from halfway to help Wigan to a 2-2 draw at Stoke.

Newcastle lost the chance of winning an eighth straight League Championship match when it drew 2-2 at Barnsley but still stretched its lead at the top of the second tier to eight points.

Second-place West Bromwich Albion is not in action until Monday, giving Nottingham Forest and Leicester the chance to move closer.

Third-place Forest won 1-0 at Swansea, while Leicester beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0.

Woods taking break from golf, admits infidelity (BERNAMA)



Tiger Woods of the U.S. gestures as he watches his ball on the fifth hole during the final round of the Australian Masters golf tournament in Melbourne November 15, 2009. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas/Files
By Jim Loney and Pascal Fletcher

MIAMI, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods said on Friday he would take an indefinite break from professional golf, admitting he cheated on his wife and bowing to the pressure of two weeks of frenzied media scrutiny of his private life.

The world's No. 1 golfer made the stunning announcement in his latest posting on his website in which he confessed "infidelity" for the first time, said he was sorry and asked his family, friends and supporters for forgiveness.

Woods, 33, one of the most admired sport personalities on the planet and the married father of two young children, had previously owned up only to "transgressions" in response to multiple media allegations of numerous extramarital flings.

The allegations followed a bizarre, minor early morning car accident outside his Florida home on Nov. 27 that rapidly ballooned into a full-fledged sex scandal that turned his previously unblemished life and career upside down.

"I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children," said Woods.

His previous perfectionist image was a magnet for lucrative sports sponsorships and endorsements, and according to Forbes magazine, he was the first athlete to earn $1 billion, making him one of the world's wealthiest sports figures.

"After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person," Woods said.

"I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try," he added.

The announcement by the greatest golfer of his generation left the world of professional golf reeling, although his closest collaborators expressed understanding.

"The entirety of someone's life is more important than just a professional career. What matters most is a young family that is trying to cope with difficult life issues in a secluded and caring way. Whenever Tiger may return to the game should be on the family's terms alone," his agent and friend Mark Steinberg said.

IMPACT ON SPONSORS?

Although Woods' major commercial backers and sponsors - which include PepsiCo's Gatorade, Procter & Gamble's Gillette, Electronic Arts and Nike - have up to now stood by him, Steinberg acknowledged the golfer's announcement could affect his business relationships.

"Of course, each sponsor has unique considerations and ultimately the decisions they make we would fully understand and accept," he said.

Woods has been far and away the top draw on the PGA Tour. He is chasing Jack Nicklaus' record for victories in major tournaments and the unofficial title of best golfer ever. He has won 71 times on the tour in a spectacular career that includes 14 major wins.

But PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem expressed sympathy for the reasons behind his decision to take a break.

"His priorities are where they need to be, and we will continue to respect and honor his family's request for privacy," Finchem said.

"We look forward to Tiger's return to the PGA Tour when he determines the time is right for him," he added.

It was the early hour and circumstances of the Nov. 27 car accident and Woods' refusal to answer police questions, followed by reports he had argued with his wife that night, which triggered worldwide speculation about his personal life.

Woods suffered facial cuts and bruises in the one-car accident, in which he hit a water hydrant and a tree.

The Florida Highway Patrol has closed its investigation into Woods' accident after issuing a ticket to him for careless driving and saying no criminal charges would be brought.

His Swedish wife, Elin Nordegren, told police she pulled him from the crashed car after using a golf club to smash a window. Woods has paid his $164 traffic fine.

PARADE OF ALLEGED MISTRESSES

As the scandal over his private life unraveled, more and more U.S. and British tabloid newspapers and media websites published comments from and photos of a parade of between eight to 12 women, including cocktail waitresses and porn stars, who claimed relationships with Woods.

The media scrutiny prompted Woods to seek and obtain a British court order banning publication in Britain of any photos or video showing him nude or having sex.

British law firm Schillings, which specializes in protecting the reputations of celebrities, obtained the injunction on Woods' behalf on Thursday at the High Court in London, partner Simon Smith told Reuters by phone on Friday.

A letter from the lawyers accompanying the injunction contains a statement that "this Order is not to be taken as an admission that any such photographs exist."

At least one U.S. publication has said it has been offered pictures of Woods naked.

© REUTERS 2009

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Football Steals The Show In Vientiane (BERNAMA)

Football Steals The Show In Vientiane

From Zulhilmi Supaat

VIENTIANE, Dec 11 (Bernama) -- Although aquatic events provided Malaysia with five gold medals, including setting three new records and improving on four national records, the focus was definitely on football after K.Rajagobal's squad qualified for the semi-finals.

The Malaysian squad beat Thailand 2-1 to deny Thailand a berth in the semi-finals for the first time in 36 years.

The last time the Malaysian squad took a gold medal in the biennial games was 20 years ago in 1989 in Kuala Lumpur under British coach, Trevor Hartley.

Malaysia today won six gold medals, three in swimming, karate (2) and diving (1).

The national contingent also won three silver medals (karate, shooting, snooker and billiards) and nine bronze medals (swimming - 2, shooting - 2, taekwondo - 2, diving - 1, karate - 1 and cycling - 1)

National swimmer, Daniel Bego, broke the SEA Games record and the national record in the 200m men's freestyle with a time of 50.16 seconds.

The games record was previously held by Richard Sam Bera of Indonesia (50.80s) and Daniels's national record was a time of 50.94s set in the World Swimming Championship in Rome.

Siow Yi Ting also broke a games record in the 100m women's breast stroke with a time 1:09.82s.

Siow erased the record of 1:10.55s set by Nicoletta Teo of Singapore in Korat, Thailand last year, and her national record of 1:11.29s set in the Doha Asian Games in 2006.

Khoo Cai Lin in the 400m women's freestyle set a personal best with 4:10.75s, some six seconds faster than her national record of 4:16.96s.

The time renewed her SEA Games record of 4:18.20s set in Korat, Thailand.

Malaysia also set a new national record via the women's freestyle quartet with a time of 3:51.40s, bettering the old record of 3:54.91s.

Karate contributed two gold medals through Mohd Hatta Mahmud in the men's kumite below 84kg while Jamalliah Jamaludin got a gold in the women's kumite above 60kg.

The shooting squad's hopes for a gold were dashed after Bibiana Ng managed a silver in the 10m Individual Women's Air Pistol.

Bibiana Ng and team mates Joseline Cheah and Siti Nur Masitah Mohd Badrin then won a bronze in the 10m Team Air Pistol event while another bronze was won in the 50m Women's Team Prone Rifle event after Muslifah Zulkifli, Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi and Nor Ain Ibrahim failed to defend their title won in Korat.

At the end of the third day of the 25th games, Malaysia was at fifth place with eight golds, nine silvers and 18 bronzes.

Vietnam is at the top spot with 14 golds, 10 silvers and 10 bronzes, followed by Singapore (14, 6, 12), Thailand (13, 22, 17) and Indonesia (11, 7, 14.)

Tomorrow, the fourth day of the 25th SEA Games that began officially on Dec 9 and ends on Dec 19, the focus returns to aquatic events.

Leong Mun Yee, Pandalela Rinong and Yeoh Ken Nee will take part in the diving event and Daniel Bego in the swimming event.

Meanwhile, other events like badminton and golf are still in the early rounds.

-- BERNAMA

Mohd Nuzul Bags Silver In Men's Shooting (BERNAMA)


From Hilary Sebastian

VIENTIANE, Dec 12 (Bernama) -- National Petanque athlete Mohd Nuzul Azwan Ahmad Temizi had to settle for the silver after he lost to Heng Than of Cambodia in the final of the men's individual shooting event at the Booyong Gymnasium, National University Centre, here, Saturday.

Backed by hundreds of Cambodian and Lao supporters, Heng Than was in his own league collecting point after point from almost accurate throws from the start till the end, with the final scoreline reading 48-19.

"It was a suprise as Heng Than had almost perfect throws. Maybe, it was the crowd factor that influenced his fighting spirit and motivation," said Mohd Nuzul afterwards.

In the semi-final, he said, Heng Than did not perform well as he only won 27-17 against his Vietnamese opponent.

Mohd Nuzul had had thrashed Thailand's Buttree Puedpong 44-25 in his semi-final.

-- BERNAMA

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