Nani’s last-gasp winner and Mendez has Australia in a spin

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FOOTBALL – Manchester United, came back from 2-0 down, to beat rivals City 3-2 in the Community Shield at Wembley last Sunday, Nani scoring a late-late winner after which boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Never write us off.”

This annual event followed Paul Scholes’ testimonial which took place at Old Trafford 48 hours earlier when a crowd of 75,000 saw a United XI thrash New York Cosmos 6-0.

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Arsenal have drawn Udinese in the group League qualifiers in the Champions League qualifying round (both legs will take place later this month).

Meanwhile, it’s Hearts v Spurs, Nacional (Portugal) v. Birmingham, Thun v. Stoke, Fulham v Dnipro, Celtic v. Sion and Maribor v. Rangers in the Europa League play-offs This will be Birmingham’s first ‘European’ game for almost 50 years.

Last weekend there were opening season ‘League’ wins for 25 teams including Blackpool, Brentford (under new boss Uwe Rosler), Brighton (at their new ground), Bristol Rovers (at AFC Wimbledon), Cardiff (at West Ham), Derby, Ipswich, Leicester, Peterborough, both Sheffield clubs and Walsall while in Scotland, Celtic won at Aberdeen but it’s Motherwell who lead the SPL.


Paulo Sergio is the new manager of Hearts (replacing Jim Jefferies) and former Liverpool and Wales’ striker John Toshack is the new boss of Macedonia.

In the transfer market, Arsenal have signed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton, Chelsea’s Yury Zhirkov has moved to Anzhi Makhachkalas for £13.2m, Giles Barnes has left WBA for Doncaster, while the Baggies have recruited Marton Fülop (from Ipswich), West Ham have signed John Carew from Aston Villa, DJ Campbell has joined QPR from Blackpool, Steed Malbranque has switched from Sunderland to St Etienne and ex-WBA, Chelsea, and Blues stopper Tony Godden, is now goalkeeping coach at Brighton.

And on Wednesday England – riots permitting – met Holland in a friendly at Wembley.


CRICKET – The Third England-India Test started yesterday at revamped Edgbaston, Birmingham. England, aiming to become the world’s top cricketing nation, lead 2-0 in the four-match series, but are minus injured Jonathan Trott, replaced by Ravi Bopara. Zaheer Khan misses out for the tourists.

Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendez has set a new world record by taking 6-16 in a 20/20 overs match v. Australia.

RUGBY – England beat Wales 23-19 and Scotland defeated Ireland 10-6 in warm-up friendlies ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand. Meanwhile, in the League code, the Challenge Cup final later this month will feature Wigan Warriors v. Leeds Rhinos at Wembley. In the semis, Wigan beat St Helens while Leeds pipped Castleford with an extra-time sudden death penalty from Kevin Sinfield.

ATHLETICS – Alastair Brownlee powered away from his brother Jonathan (who finished third) to win the Hyde Park Triathlon on Sunday and so qualified for the 2012 Olympics.

South Africa-born double amputee runner Oscar Pistorius will compete in 400m in the World Championships in South Korea and the 2012 Olympics Games.

EXTRA –Serena Williams has dropped down to 189th in the world tennis rankings and England’s 1966 World Cup final hero, Sir Geoff Hurst, is to take part in a film (he’ll play football agent Adam Avely in Payback Season) 

DID YOU KNOW?

In August 1965, the substitute rule was introduced to League football. And ‘Charlie’ Oatway, coach at Brighton, was christened Anthony Philip David Terry Frank Donald Stanley Gerry Gordon Stephen – the names of the QPR team of 1973.

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