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Roy Keane back in action

Manchester: Manchester United captain Roy Keane was back in action on Thursday for the first time since August.

The Ireland midfielder, who had an operation on his hip after being sent off against Sunderland on August 31, played the full 90 minutes as Manchester United’s reserve team were beaten 3-2 by Newcastle United’s reserves at Old Trafford.

Keane’s absence through injury coincided with a five-game suspension given by the Football Association for controversial comments made in his autobiography.

His comeback with the reserves has put him in the frame for a return to first team action during the busy festive programme. United’s next game in the Premier League is away to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.

No restriction on Marseille

Marseille: Olympique Marseille have been freed from the transfer restrictions imposed on them by the French soccer committee for financial control (DNCG), the first division club said on its website Thursday.

“The DNCG have realised that we have the clear will to have a clean and balanced account,” Marseille’s chairman Christophe Bouchet said. “We are planning to buy two players during the winter break. One for next season and a second one if some players decide to move.”

Marseille, who narrowly escaped relegation to the second division on financial grounds in June, were subject to strict controls with transfers having to be approved by the DNCG.

Guga set for Big W return

Rio de Janeiro: Former world No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten said on Thursday that he intends to play the Wimbledon in 2003 despite having snubbed the tournament for the last two years.

The Brazilian, a three-time French Open champion, has always harboured doubts about his game on the famous London grass courts and his best result was a quarter-final spot in 1999 when he lost to Andre Agassi.

Woods named Golfer of Year

Houston: Tiger Woods for the fourth straight year and Annika Sorenstam for the second time in a row were named the Golfers of the Year for 2002 by the US golf writers.

Woods, 27, won six tournaments around the world, including his second straight Masters title and the US Open. He also finished top of the US PGA tour money list for the fourth straight year. Sorenstam, 32, put together one of the most brilliant seasons in the past 40 years.

Lothar claim settled

Vienna: A claim of unfair dismissal and lost earnings brought by Lothar Matthaeus against his former employers Rapid Vienna was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, lawyers for the two parties said on Thursday.

Matthaeus, Germany’s World Cup-winning former captain, was fired from his coaching post by Rapid in May after a dismal season in which the club slipped to the lowest league position in their 103-year history.

Internet launch

London: The Jaguar Formula One team have scrapped plans for a formal launch of their new R4 car and will present it on the internet instead next month.

The team had originally set a date of January 13 for the launch but shelved that after Niki Lauda was replaced as Jaguar Racing head last month.

n Soccer, Football Asia from 12.30 pm on STAR Sports n Soccer, Spanish League highlights from 6.30 pm on ESPN n Soccer, English Premier league live from 8.35 pm on ESPN n Cricket, New Zealand vs India 2nd Test, Day 4 live from 3.25am (Sunday) on STAR Sports


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