Monday 22 January 2018

In brief: Advocaat takes reins in Russia

Soccer

FORMER Rangers manager Dick Advocaat has taken over as manager of Ireland's Euro 2012 opponents Russia.

The Dutchman -- most recently the national team coach of Belgium -- knows his new territory well as he enjoyed a reasonably successful period with an Andrei Arshavin-inspired Zenit St Petersburg, with the highlight being UEFA Cup glory in 2008. However, he was subsequently shown the door after a poor run of results.

Meanwhile, former Chelsea boss Avram Grant was last night in talks with Portsmouth after asking to be released so he can take over Gianfranco Zola as manager of West Ham United.

Motorsport

DAMON HILL has received hate mail from Michael Schumacher fans in the wake of his decision which helped to strip the Mercedes driver of his points and relegate him to the back of the field over a final-lap incident during the Monaco Grand Prix.

The 1996 world champion said he would think twice about accepting the FIA's invitation to act as a steward again because he felt "uncomfortable" with the responsibility.

Hill was one of four stewards who deemed the German's pass on Ferrari's Fernando Alonso at the final corner in Monaco to be illegal because it contravened a rule which forbids cars from overtaking if a safety car is deployed on the final lap.

Mercedes are appealing against the stewards' interpretation of the rules.

Cycling

Matthew Goss became the third Australian to win a stage in this year's Giro d'Italia after riders had to power through huge puddles on the ninth day of racing yesterday.

The HTC-Columbia rider followed up victories by Matthew Lloyd and BMC's Cadel Evans to give the world's second-biggest stage race a distinctly Antipodean feel.

Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov kept the overall lead, still one minute 12 seconds ahead of world champion Evans, after both had been in the running for a stage victory with metres to go before being passed by Goss and his fellow raiders.

Tasmania's Goss, who was second on stage two in only his second Giro, just edged out Filippo Pozzato and Tyler Farrar.

The 187km flat ninth stage from Frosinone to Cava de' Tirreni on the coast below Naples was dominated by enormous puddles of water following consistent rain.

Meanwhile, the An Post/Sean Kelly team for the FBD Insurance Ras is a tried and trusted outfit who will do battle over eight days of competitive racing, which starts from Dunboyne on Sunday and finishes up a week later in Skerries on the Dublin coast.

Three Irishmen -- Mark Cassidy, David O'Loughlin and Connor McConvey -- join Liverpudlian Mark McNally and Belgian Pieter Ghyllebert.

Irish Independent

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