Bad hamstring keeps Nani out of soccer lineup against Israel

Manchester United winger Nani has been left out of Portugal’s squad for the decisive World Cup Group F qualifiers against Israel and Azerbaijan after picking up a hamstring injury in Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Chelsea. Coach Paulo Bento handed a debut call-up yesterday to 27-year-old Wolfsburg winger Vieirinha in a 23-man squad that will play in Tel Aviv on Friday, March 22, and then in Baku four days later. Portugal have failed to win its last four matches. “We cannot get caught up on the past and what happened in the last four matches. This [Israel] is an important one, although getting to first place in the group no longer depends solely on us,” said Bento. ‏(Reuters‏)

NHL approves ‘geographically friendly’ realignment

The National Hockey League’s board of governors has approved a realignment plan to start next season. The realignment features a more geographically friendly setup, a new playoff format and the promise of more intense rivalries. The plan, to be reevaluated by the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association after the 2015-16 campaign, realigns the league into a two-conference, four-division format, featuring 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 teams in the Western Conference. The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will move to the Eastern Conference while the Winnipeg Jets jump to the Western Conference. ‏Dallas, Minnesota and Colorado will move divisions. (Reuters)

One is enough

Tottenham Hotspur’s Emmanuel Adebayor, left, scored past Inter Milan’s Javier Zanetti during their Europa League soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan on Thursday. Although Adebayor’s goal was the only one for Tottenham, it was enough in the 4-1 loss as the team had won 3-0 in the first leg and thus advanced to the quarterfinals on the away goals rule. Both the Champions League and the Europa League will hold quarterfinal draws today. (Haaretz Sports Staff)