Saturday 25 March 2017

Owen lines out for old Pool pal

Jamie Carragher thanked Michael Owen for returning to Anfield and England coach Fabio Capello for allowing Steven Gerrard to play in his testimonial yesterday.

Carragher scored two penalties -- one an own-goal -- as his Liverpool side beat an Everton XI 4-1, with other strikes coming from Luis Garcia, Joe Cole and Nathan Eccleston. Owen received a mixed reception, unlike Gerrard who played the first 10 minutes despite having featured in England's 4-0 Euro 2012 qualifying win over Bulgaria on Friday.

"I asked the referee to give us a penalty before half-time because I was thinking about Michael as I wanted him to score -- I forgot that people would want me to take one," said Carragher, who hopes to raise £1million for his 23 Foundation through this game and a gala dinner. "He's my best mate in football and it took courage to come back and do it for me knowing he would take a lot of stick. But I think the crowd would have killed him if he'd taken the penalty listening to their reaction."

Dawson ruled out with injury

England centre-back Michael Dawson will be out for up to two months after suffering knee and ankle injuries during Friday's 4-0 Euro 2012 qualifying win over Bulgaria.

"Michael Dawson has sprained his left medial knee ligament and one of his left ankle ligaments," a Tottenham statement said after a scan yesterday. With Rio Ferdinand and John Terry also injured, Phil Jagielka looks a certain starter in Tuesday's qualifier in Switzerland where he will be partnered by Gary Cahill, who made his debut as Dawson's replacement on Friday, or Matthew Upson.

Collins bruised but not hurt

Aston Villa defender James Collins has been cleared of serious injury after apparently being elbowed in the face on international duty.

The 27-year-old was checked out in hospital after a clash with Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic in the second half of Wales' Euro 2012 qualifying defeat in Podgorica on Friday. Collins has a black eye but has not fractured his cheekbone or broken his nose as manager John Toshack had feared.

Benzema back for Les Bleus

Karim Benzema, who missed France's 1-0 defeat by Belarus on Friday with an ankle injury, will be fit to face Bosnia in their next Euro 2012 qualifier on Tuesday in Sarajevo.

"Karim participated in a full training session this morning and he will be available," said coach Laurent Blanc.

Blanc, who replaced Raymond Domenech after the World Cup fiasco, faces a selection headache in attack after strikers Loic Remy and Louis Saha both picked up injuries against Belarus in France's opening Group D match at Stade de France. The pair were ruled out for Tuesday's match and Blanc has called up Lyon striker Jimmy Briand.

Baggies to let Moore leave

Roberto Di Matteo plans to send Luke Moore out on loan after leaving him out of his 25-man Premier League squad.

Former Aston Villa striker Moore is now unable to play for the Baggies in the league until January, meaning he will have to move elsewhere if he wants first-team football.

Elsewhere, Newcastle have confirmed Spanish forward Xisco will serve a three-match ban following his sending-off in Tuesday night's reserve clash with Sunderland.

Ref delay halts Nations Cup tie

An African Nations Cup soccer qualifier in Zambia had to be postponed yesterday for 24 hours when the referees failed to arrive.

The Confederation of African Football [CAF] ordered the Group C qualifier between Zambia and the Comoros Islands in Lusaka to be rescheduled for today because the officiating team from Eritrea were stuck in transit in Dubai.

The referees were expected to arrive near midnight last night, the match commissioner said.

Sunday Independent

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