Trinidad and Tobago international Carter, 30, dies

Trinidad and Tobago international Kevon Carter has died of a suspected heart attack, aged 30.

Carter complained of chest pains after training with club Defence Force, and was taken to the Seventh Day Adventist Community Hospital in Trinidad, where he later died.

The 25-time international’s loss will be felt hard, with Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation general secretary Sheldon Phillips in disbelief at Friday’s tragedy.

“Words are inadequate to describe the emotions currently felt about the passing of Kevon,” Phillips said.

“The young man had a quiet resolve about him and bounced back from a horrific leg injury to once again earn a spot on the national team.

“The entire football family is in mourning and our thoughts and prayers are with Kevon’s family and team-mates.”

Fri 28 February, 2014
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Scottish Premiership: Hibernian 1 Dundee United 3

Dundee United failed to convert two penalties at Easter Road on Friday but were still able to inflict a damaging 3-1 defeat on Hibernian.

In an eventful game, Nadir Ciftci and Gary Mackay-Steven both erred from the spot, yet the former put his tame effort behind him by opening the scoring in the 43rd minute.

Hibernian equalised almost immediately through Jordon Forster, only to then concede further goals to Gavin Gunning and Farid El Alagui in the second half either side of Mackay-Steven blazing a penalty over the crossbar.

The hosts’ misery was also compounded by the 72nd-minute dismissal of Tom Taiwo for a second bookable offence.

Terry Butcher’s side remain seventh and face a battle to secure a top-six finish, while United move up to fourth.

After seeing a penalty saved midway through the first half, Ciftci bounced back by cutting in from the right and finishing calmly.

Forster was gifted a leveller when visiting goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak flapped at a corner, but United restored their advantage 11 minutes after the interval when Gunning produced a towering header to register his third goal in two games.

Mackay-Steven’s dismal effort from 12 yards was followed by Taiwo seeing red, but there was still time for El Alagui to make it 3-1 with a near-post finish from Andrew Robertson’s left-wing cross.

Fri 28 February, 2014
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La Liga: Athletic Bilbao 4 Granada 0

Aritz Aduriz continued his remarkable scoring record against Granada, netting a hat-trick in a 4-0 victory on Friday.

The attacker went into the game having scored his side’s last three goals in matches with Granada, and did not take long to get on the scoresheet again this time around.

Aduriz headed home after seven minutes to get Bilbao off to a wonderful start, before firing in a superb 20-yard strike off the angle of post and crossbar to double the hosts’ advantage 11 minutes later.

Granada captain Diego Mainz was given his marching orders in the 73rd minute when he brought down Aduriz in the box, and the undoubted man of the match made no mistake in sending the resulting penalty down the middle and beyond Roberto from 12 yards.

Carlos Gurpegi completed the rout 10 minutes from time, volleying home from the edge of the area after Granada had failed to clear their lines from a cross.

The win lifts fourth-placed Bilbao seven points clear of Villarreal and Real Sociedad, who each play on Sunday, in the battle for UEFA Champions League qualification.

Granada have now lost five of their last six league outings and remain 13th.

Fri 28 February, 2014
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Swansea to avenge European heartbreak with a win over Crystal Palace

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Competition: Premier League
Market: Swansea to win against Crystal Palace
Odds: 5/6 @ Coral

Despite crashing out of Europe in midweek, Swansea put in an impressive performance against a strong Napoli side in the Europa League, and will certainly want revenge when Crystal Palace come to town this weekend.

The one downside will be fatigue due to the lack of rest time allowed between the two fixtures, but Palace’s away form has been woeful in the league – losing five of their last six games on their travels. Coral are backing Swansea at 5/6 to make it 6 away defeats from 7 for Crystal Palace.

Swans manager Garry Monk has been praised with how much the side have improved since he took over following the sacking of Michael Laudrup, and striker Wilfried Bony has hit a great run of form in front of goal of late too – scoring six goals in his last seven games.

With their opponents having only scored 18 goals in 27 games this season, 5 in 12 away games, it looks likely to be a comfortable home win for last season’s Capital One Cup winners. Can they avenge their European exit with a win this weekend?

Bet: Swansea to win against Crystal Palace @ 5/6 with Coral >>

Fri 28 February, 2014
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Bundesliga: Hertha Berlin 0 Freiburg 0

Hertha Berlin’s European hopes suffered a further blow as their poor home form continued with a 0-0 draw against struggling Freiburg.

Although Hertha remain firmly in the running for UEFA Europa League qualification, Jos Luhukay’s men have now won just one of their last seven Bundesliga fixtures at the Olympiastadion.

Sami Allagui had a golden opportunity to score inside the first minute of the encounter, but missed the target to set the tone for an evening of frustration.

While seventh-placed Hertha will be annoyed at missing an opportunity to steal a march on their rivals, Freiburg will surely be content with a priceless point in their battle for survival.

Allagui spurned two chances prior to the interval, while the visitors could have moved in front when Vladimir Darida fired straight at Thomas Kraft following a neat passing move.

Darida forced Kraft into further action in the second half, while Freiburg goalkeeper Oliver Baumann made a less-than-convincing stop to deny Adrian Ramos – the primary threat for Hertha in the closing stages.

Fri 28 February, 2014
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Can in-form Hull City do the league double over Newcastle?

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Competition: Premier League
Market: Hull to win against Newcastle
Odds: 29/20 @ Ladbrokes

Hull City, currently in 11th place, have been in fine league form of late, taking 7 points from their last four games – with two away wins. Newcastle, on the other hand, recently just won their first game in five, and have only scored just the once during this time. As a result, Ladbrokes are backing Hull at 29/20 to see past Alan Pardew’s men this weekend.

The home side will have deadly strike duo Shane Long & Nikica Jelavic available for action, after both were cup-tied for the FA Cup fifth round win against Brighton. Midfielder Tom Huddlestone will also return to the first-team.

Newcastle defender Davide Santon & midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa are still out of contention due to injury, but winger Sylvain Marveaux is set to return.

10 points may separate the two sides in the league, but as Hull beat Newcastle 3-2 at St James’ Park when the two sides met in September, they have a chance to complete a league double against the Toon Army for the first time since the 90s. But can Steve Bruce’s side pull it off?

Bet: Hull to win against Newcastle @ 29/20 with Ladbrokes >>

Fri 28 February, 2014
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Ligue 1: Evian 2 Nantes 0

Evian ended a 10-game winless Ligue 1 run with a 2-0 home victory over Nantes on Friday.

Second-half goals from Cedric Barbosa and Daniel Wass lifted Evian five points clear of 18th-placed Valenciennes, who play on Saturday.

It was the hosts who did the early pressing, with Tulio de Melo heading wide of the right-hand post from a Barbosa cross in the opening stages.

Alejandro Bedoya rattled the crossbar for Nantes with a headed effort in the 23rd minute, but the rebound bounced favourably for Evian to clear the danger.

Nantes had claims for a penalty turned down on the half-hour mark when Cedric Mongongu was alleged to have brought down Johan Audel, who was eventually brought off injured.

Evian then broke the deadlock in the 61st minute, when Barbosa watched the ball float over his shoulder from a delightful Olivier Sorlin pass and allowed it to bounce before powering home a left-footed effort from close range.

The points were secured 16 minutes later when Wass curled home a superb set-piece from 20 yards, although questions were raised over whether a free-kick should have been awarded in the first place.

Nantes could have had a penalty in stoppage time, when Itay Shechter appeared to be felled by Mongongu in the area, but the referee awarded a corner instead.

Fri 28 February, 2014
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Eredivisie: Heracles 1 Heerenveen 2

Alfred Finnbogason’s goal helped Heerenveen enhance their European credentials with a 2-1 win at Heracles in Eredivisie on Friday.

Marco van Basten’s side consolidated sixth place in the table in their chase for a UEFA Europa League qualification berth.

With the Eredivisie’s packed nature – much of the league remains in with a chance of making the Europa Leauge play-offs – Finnbogason’s 22nd league goal of the season could prove a crucial one.

They had to come from behind to seal the points after Oussama Tannane gave the hosts a 26th-minute lead, curling a delightful free-kick into the top right-hand corner from 30 yards beyond a despairing dive from Kristoffer Nordfeldt.

Ten minutes later however, Heracles surrendered their advantage as Marten de Roon nodded home Hakim Ziyech’s right-wing set-piece from six yards.

Four minutes into the second period, Finnbogason struck, tapping home the rebound after Remko Pasveer had parried Rajiv van La Parra’s initial effort.

The hosts responded well, Nordfeldt reacting smartly to tip Tannane’s header behind before the resulting corner landed on top of the crossbar and bounced away to safety.

Heerenveen survived a late scare, Mark Uth flashing a volley narrowly wide in stoppage time as Heracles’ winless run extended to four matches.

Fri 28 February, 2014
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Juventus profits drop

Juventus have announced a €6.5million drop in profits for the first half of the 2013-14 financial year.

The Serie A leaders’ profits fell from €11.3m to €4.8m compared to the same point a year earlier, with the club blaming the drop, in part, on an increase in player wages.

In addition, Juve’s net debt has climbed almost €30m from €160.3m to €188m.

A statement published on the club’s website read: “The first half of the 2013-14 financial year closed with a profit of €4.8m, posting a negative change of €6.5m compared to the profit of €11.3m registered in the same period a year earlier.

“This performance substantially derived from the increase in players’ wages and technical staff costs of €11.6m, a slight increase in revenues of €5.8m (also negatively influenced by one less home match in 2013-14 half year), as well as other net negative changes of €700,000.

“These net negative changes mainly included operating costs (€600,000), net financial expenses (€800,000), amortisation of players’ registration rights (€700,000) and income taxes (€300,000), partly offset by lower provisions and write-downs (€1.7m).

“As of December 31 2013 Shareholders’ equity totalled €53.5m, an increase compared to the balance of €48.6m at June 30 2013 due to the profit for the half year (+€4.8m) and changes in the cash flow hedge reserve (+€100,000).

“Net financial debt at December 31 2013 amounted to €188m (€160.3m at June 30 2013).

“The net decrease of €27.7m was driven by Transfer Campaign net payments (-€25.7m), advances paid to the City of Turin and various suppliers in relation to the Continassa Project (-€4.6m), other investments (-€4.5m) and financial flows (-€3.7m).

“These negative cash flows were partially offset by positive cash flows from operations (+€10.6m) and other net changes (+€200,000).”

Fri 28 February, 2014
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Serie A Preview: Livorno v Napoli

Napoli’s 3-1 triumph over Swansea City on Thursday will see them carry some momentum to Livorno on Sunday.

Rafael Benitez’s charges progressed to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League with victory against the men from south Wales, but will be keen to get back to winning ways in Serie A after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Genoa last time out in the league.

And the Stadio San Paolo outfit could not have asked for a much kinder fixture on their return to the Italian top flight.

Livorno – currently 18th and one point adrift of safety – have struggled to make home advantage count this season.

Domenico Di Carlo’s men have recorded just three victories at Stadio Armando Picchi this term, two of which came against the only teams that currently sit below them in the league.

Fourteenth-placed Atalanta are the highest-ranked team Livorno have beaten home or away this campaign, and Napoli’s opponents this week have suffered four defeats in their last five matches on home soil.

Those figures should make Napoli confident of claiming victory, as should their record of having beaten Livorno in the last five meetings between the sides with a 12-2 goal difference.

Napoli made the best of their attacking depth in the reverse fixture back in October as Goran Pandev, Gokhan Inler, Jose Callejon and Marek Hamsik found the net in a 4-0 triumph.

Victory this time around would aid their quest to keep pace with top two Juventus and Roma, and Napoli midfielder Dries Mertens knows the importance of an early goal on Sunday.

“Sunday will be important to score a goal right away,” he told Radio Kiss Kiss. ” In short, it will be important not to repeat the mistakes made with Genoa. We must stay alert and focused for the full 90 minutes.”

Napoli will be without the suspended Gonzalo Higuain and Raul Albiol for the trip to Livorno, while goalkeeper Rafael is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after surgery on a knee problem.

Livorno’s struggle against the drop was made all the more difficult a fortnight ago when captain Andrea Luci was ruled out for the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Fri 28 February, 2014
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