The Bluebirds, who will face Athletic Bilbao next weekend in their final pre-season clash, start life back in the top flight when they travel to West Ham on the opening day of the new campaign. Arsenal came from two goals behind to draw with Napoli in the opening match of the Emirates Cup. The Gunners have yet to bring in a marquee summer signing, despite manager Arsene Wenger having a bumper transfer war chest – with Liverpool maintaining Luis Suarez is not for sale after a bid of £40million plus £1 was rejected. Wenger’s faith in his current squad looked questionable after some poor first-half defending allowed Lorenzo Insigne and Goran Pandev to put the Italians in command. However, an acrobatic goal by France striker Olivier Giroud with 18 minutes left sparked a fightback, with Laurent Koscielny heading in a dramatic late equaliser. Tottenham, without Real Madrid target Gareth Bale amongst their ranks, were convincingly beaten by big-spending Ligue 1 side Monaco, losing 5-2 in their friendly in the French principality. Bale remained at home as speculation about his future mounts but Spurs still named a strong side, with Nacer Chadli handed his first start for Andre Villas-Boas’ men. Monaco, who have invested heavily in their squad as they look to challenge Paris St-Germain in the coming season, took the lead after 14 minutes through a well-struck Andrea Raggi volley. Two goals in quick succession after the interval, courtesy of Lucas Ocampos and Radamel Falcao, put Claudio Ranieri’s side well on top. Spurs struck back just before the hour through young striker Harry Kane but the Premier League side did not have time to get themselves back into the match. Falcao added his second with a composed finish, with Mounir Obbadi grabbing the fifth on 70 minutes and Andros Townsend scoring a fine consolation for the visitors late on. Dwight Gayle was among the goals as Crystal Palace eased to a 4-0 win against League of Ireland side Waterford United. Ian Holloway named a strong line-up and summer signing Stephen Dobbie put the Eagles ahead after 28 minutes. With a tough opening Premier League fixture at home to Spurs, Palace will be looking to start the season high on confidence but it took them until 15 minutes from time to add to Dobbie’s opener. The former Swansea man was again heavily involved as his exchange of passes with Gayle allowed the £8million forward to make it 2-0. Another young striker, Ibra Sekajja, was then gifted possession to add the third and trialist Osman Sow wrapped up the win with a well-taken injury-time volley. Southampton lost on penalties to Celta Vigo in the Trofeo Memorial Quinocho following a 0-0 draw. Big-money summer signings Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama both started for Mauricio Pochettino’s side at Balaidos but Saints could not find a way through. Substitute Guly do Prado hit the bar with a header late on before missing the first penalty in the shoot-out. Young midfielder James Ward-Prowse saw his spot-kick saved with only Steven Davis managing to score from 12 yards as Celta secured a 4-1 shoot-out win. Kim Bo-kyung scored as Cardiff continued their preparations ahead of their first Barclays Premier League season with a 1-0 win at home to Chievo. Malky Mackay named a strong side for the visit of the Serie A outfit to the Cardiff City Stadium, with new club-record signing Steven Caulker making his first appearance for the club as a second-half substitute. Kim’s effort, which came just before the hour-mark, was the South Korea international’s third goal of pre-season and proved to be enough to seal the win for the hosts. Press Association
DEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photoAs the weather begins to turn cool, the No. 15 University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team readies itself for the start of Big Ten play.”The Big Ten is almost like restarting the season again,” UW assistant coach Carrie Barker said. “Once the Big Ten starts, it’s like starting from scratch. The Big Ten is like a different life.””Anyone can beat anyone on any given day in the Big Ten,” Baker added. “It’s very competitive and the most important thing right now.”With two losses already credited to their record, the Badgers are slightly off the pace they established last year.”Last year, we went 10-0 non-conference,” sophomore goalkeeper Lynn Murray said. “It was huge because we did not have the same strength of schedule that we have this year. Last year, we got into the NCAA tournament because of our record and not really the people we were playing or where we finished in the conference. As a team goal, we are trying to get to the same place we were last year.”Though the Badgers’ record currently stands at 5-2-1, the road to the NCAA tournament won’t be easy with a tough conference season ahead. Several Big Ten schools have found success early in the year.No. 2 Penn State leads the Big Ten with eight victories, as the Nittany Lions have outscored their opponents 24-6. Senior forward Tiffany Weimer has managed to score in all eight games — racking up 11 goals.Penn State is the only Big Ten school besides Wisconsin with a national ranking. En route to their unblemished record, the Nittany Lions have already defeated four ranked teams. The Badgers will have home-field advantage against the Lions Sunday, Oct. 2, and will be out for revenge after last season’s 4-0 loss in Madison.”Last year we lost pretty badly to them,” Barker said. “I think we need to have a recap and let them know that we are going to remember last year’s game and not be afraid to play them again. It’s important for us to evaluate ourselves.””We are a year older, more experienced and more driven to prove to them that last year’s game was an embarrassment and we will not let that happen again.”Northwestern is also off to a booming start. The Wildcats have won six contests, losing one road game to No. 23 Marquette, but have a history of losing away games. Last season they fell in seven of their nine road contests and were outscored 28-9.”The biggest lesson we learned last year was that we need to be as prepared to compete on the road as well as at home,” Northwestern head coach Jenny Haigh said. “We have a lot of pride playing on our home field, but we need to carry that same pride as competitors at any facility against any opponent.”Wisconsin will travel to Northwestern Oct. 28.The Badgers will open Big Ten play this weekend when they travel to Iowa and Illinois.The Hawkeyes have not had the same early season success, recording only one win, which came in overtime against Air Force. Over the last two years, Iowa has failed to win a conference game. Its last conference win occurred Oct. 25, 2002, against Illinois. Wisconsin has won three out the last four meetings between the two teams.”Iowa’s record does not mean anything,” Barker said. “You could have a horrible non-conference season and get that one win that will change the whole season around. We are concerned about playing them and after we are through with them, we will concentrate on Illinois.”Inconsistency has plagued Illinois this season. After advancing to the quarterfinal round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament, the Illini began the season with a No. 13 national ranking but have since fallen out of the rankings. Sunday, Illinois lost 2-1 to Indiana State. The win was the first for the Sycamores against a Big Ten or nationally ranked opponent. However, the Badgers lost to the Illini last year, 1-0.”Illinois haven’t had the season they’ve wanted,” Barker said. “We can’t think they’ve had some bad losses and they are done. Anything can happen in the Big Ten.”
For years, USC fans waited to hear the result of the NCAA’s long-standing investigation into the school’s athletic program.What they heard Thursday wasn’t what they expected.Silent · Athletic Director Mike Garrett has refused to talk to the media since the sanctions were announced. – Courtesy USC Sports Information In a 67-page report the NCAA compiled and released to the public at noon Thursday, the collegiate athletics governing body found instances proving a lack of institutional control and numerous violations involving the two primary suspects: “student-athlete one” (Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush) and “student-athlete two” (one-and-done prep star O.J. Mayo.)The NCAA’s four-year investigation centered on the school’s alleged football- and basketball-related violations, relating largely to against-the-rules benefits Bush and Mayo received while attending USC.The USC football program received a two-year bowl ban and a loss of football scholarships – 30 scholarships over a three-year period, 10 annually. Both football and basketball will also be put on four years probation.With its ban from postseason play, USC becomes the first Football Bowl Subdivision school to be so punished since the Alabama served a two-year ban last decade.Bush, who was ruled ineligible in 2004 and 2005 by the NCAA, was the subject of much controversy after he left the football program. His dealings with two would-be sports marketers — Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels — were investigated by the NCAA, Pac-10 and the FBI.In turn, USC has been ordered to forfeit every victory that Bush participated in while ineligible. The two-year bowl ban also comes as a direct result of Bush’s ineligibility, according to Committee of Infractions director Paul Dee.“I am disappointed by [Thursday’s] decision and disagree with the NCAA’s findings,” Bush said in a statement Thursday. “I will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and USC, as I did during the investigation. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on making a positive impact for the University and for the community where I live.”USC managed to avoid further punishment that would have imposed a television ban on the football team. The NCAA found that the sanctions it chose to impose “respond to the nature of violations and the level of institutional responsibility.”The Trojans’ basketball program and the women’s tennis team were also cited in the report the NCAA compiled with its findings on the athletic programThe NCAA did not take any further action against the basketball program. Earlier this year, the university self-imposed sanctions on the basketball team, banning it from postseason play, forfeiting victories from Mayo’s lone season at the school and reducing the number of scholarships for the next two years.Speaking to reporters Thursday, USC basketball coach Kevin O’Neill said he agreed with the decision to self-impose sanctions but said he couldn’t speculate on whether it should have been an option for the football program.The women’s tennis violation involved Romanian athlete Gabriela Niculescu, who has since transferred to Idaho. According to the report, USC chose to vacate all the wins — from 2006 to 2009 — she participated in.The university has announced plans to appeal the NCAA’s football-related findings, which could affect the timetable of the punishments. If the appeal has not been ruled on by mid-January, USC will technically be eligible to compete in any bowl game for the 2010 season.USC also released the original 169-page report it submitted to the NCAA in December 2009. From the report, the the Trojans hope to prove their relative innocence.“There is some guilt in some penalties, but the punishment is too severe and that’s why the appeal process is taking place,” first-year coach Lane Kiffin told media members in USC’s Heritage Hall on Thursday.
OTTAWA – Health Canada is warning that some EpiPens may not slide out of their tubes easily, possibly delaying emergency treatment.The agency says it was advised by Pfizer Canada about the issue, which it says affects some EpiPen and EpiPen Jr auto-injector devices.Health Canada warns that the problem could delay or prevent emergency treatment, possibly leading to patient disability or even death.Pfizer Canada says the issue is with the device label, and not with the device itself or the drug it delivers.EpiPens are used to deliver a dose of adrenaline to patients who are at risk of life-threatening allergic reactions.Health Canada says the products are not being recalled by Pfizer, as the risk can be easily mitigated by simply checking the devices to make sure they slide easily out of their carrier tube.According Pfizer, there have been no reports of EpiPen malfunctions in Canada.