Slap-dash Arsenal held up by Fulham

Updated 11 November 2012
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Slap-dash Arsenal held up by Fulham

LONDON: Mikel Arteta saw an injury-time penalty saved as Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League faded a little further yesterday after an entertaining 3-3 draw at home to Fulham.
The result left Arsene Wenger’s side four points below the Champions League places in seventh position, with four of the teams above them still to play.
Despite a strong start from Fulham at the Emirates Stadium, the hosts found themselves 2-0 up inside 23 minutes thanks to a near-post header from Olivier Giroud and a predatory finish from Lukas Podolski.
Fulham hit back through Dimitar Berbatov, who headed home unmarked from a corner, before substitute Alexander Kacaniklic draw the visitors level with a downward header five minutes before half time.
Berbatov then gave Fulham the lead from the penalty spot in the 67th minute, after Arteta tripped Bryan Ruiz, but Giroud restored parity two minutes later with a header after an initial attempt hit the post.
Arteta could have given Arsenal victory in the fourth minute of stoppage time after Sascha Riether was penalized for handling Andrey Arshavin’s cross, but his low spot kick was brilliantly saved by Mark Schwarzer.
Manchester United will look to extend their advantage to four points with victory at Aston Villa in a late night match.
Second placed Chelsea host Liverpool today, while third-placed defending champions Manchester City tackle Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium.
Everton held onto fourth place by beating Sunderland 2-1, with Marouane Fellaini scoring the equalizer and setting up the winner for Nikika Jelavic after Adam Johnson had put the visitors ahead with a 45th-minute half volley.
West Bromwich Albion remains level on points with Everton in fifth place after a 2-1 success at Wigan Athletic.
James Morrison headed in Chris Brunt’s sublime cross to put the visitors ahead in the 31st minute, with Gary Caldwell’s own goal doubling West Brom’s lead before Arouna Kone replied for Wigan prior to half-time.
Southampton climbed off the foot of the table despite being pegged back by Swansea City in a 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s Stadium, while third-bottom Reading remain without a win after a 0-0 draw at home to Norwich City.
In the day’s other game, Charlie Adam claimed his first goal for Stoke City to give Tony Pulis’ side a 1-0 win at home to Queens Park Rangers that sent the London club back to the bottom of the table.


ICC probes pitch-fixing charges involving Sri Lanka

Updated 20 min 35 sec ago
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ICC probes pitch-fixing charges involving Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lankan alleged to have agreed to tamper with pitch against England
  • Al-Jazeera documentary apparently catches two Sri Lankans and a former Indian player discussing how to rig England’s opening Test in November

COLOMBO: The International Cricket Council said Saturday it was investigating allegations that a Sri Lankan groundsman had agreed to tamper with the pitch to alter the result of an upcoming Test match against England.
The ICC said it took the allegations reported in an Al-Jazeera documentary “very seriously” and urged “all evidence and supporting material” to be shared with the investigators.
An advance report on the documentary, which will be broadcast on Sunday, said two Sri Lankans and a former Indian player were caught discussing how to rig England’s opening Test against Sri Lanka in November.
“We have already launched an investigation working with anti-corruption colleagues from member countries based on the limited information we have received,” the ICC said in a statement.
It also called for the immediate release of any evidence and supporting material to enable the anti-corruption unit to “undertake a full and comprehensive investigation.”
The London-based Daily Telegraph said late Friday that the Al Jazeera footage seen by the newspaper featured Robin Morris, a former professional cricketer from Mumbai, India, Tharindu Mendis, a player from Colombo, and Tharanga Indika, an assistant manager at Galle International Stadium.
The newspaper reported that the footage showed the men talking about doctoring pitches during a meeting with an undercover reporter.
The men were reportedly discussing ways to prepare the pitch to ensure that the first Test at the Galle ground would not end in a draw and would yield a result in less than four days.
Sri Lanka’s cricket board said it would “extend its fullest cooperation to the ICC to investigate the latest allegations levelled via media reports, over ‘match fixing’.”
The former curator of the Galle International Stadium, Jayananda Warnaweera, is already under an ICC ban for three years until January 2019 for failing to cooperate with an anti-corruption investigation.
Warnaweera, a former Test player, had failed to attend interviews with the ICC’s anti-corruption unit. He had been previously handed a two-year ban by the local board over the same allegations.
Sri Lankan players and umpires have been accused of match fixing in the past, but Warnaweera is the highest ranking official punished so far.
Although no big-name Sri Lankan player has ever been convicted of corruption, several former stars have made allegations of either match fixing or spot-fixing — when players deliberately bowl or field badly to give away a set number of runs.

Sri Lanka Cricket says it will offer its "fullest co-operation" with the ICC. It said on Saturday it was "constantly engaged with the ICC and is following its guidelines on how to handle anti-corruption operations for the forthcoming tours in Sri Lanka."