Journeyman Benayoun on the move again
Israeli international midfielder Yossi Benayoun has confirmed that he will be leaving English Premier League side Chelsea when his contract expires at the end of the season. Having hardly made any league appearances for the Blues this season, Benayoun told Sky Sports he wants to join a team where he can “express” himself more. The majority of Benayoun’s appearances for Chelsea have been as a substitute, often coming on very late in the game. He has also had spells on loan at Arsenal and West Ham United. As for his future, Benayoun said his “agents are talking about offers from America, Spain, Russia and England, but there’s nothing concrete at the moment.” (Haaretz Sports Staff)
Ram overcomes injured Erlich in comeback
After a seven-month absence due to injury, Israeli tennis star Andy Ram returned to action over the weekend with a walkover victory in the Portugal Open − thanks to the retirement of his compatriot and one-time double partner Yoni Erlich. Partnered by Rohan Bopanna of India, Ram was leading 5-3 in the first set when Erlich, who was playing with Dominic Inglot of Britain, announced that he was unable to continue due to back pains. Meanwhile, Israel’s most successful women’s player, Shahar Peer, was informed yesterday that she would not have to compete in the qualifying rounds of this month’s French Open. Despite not being seeded for the season’s second Grand Slam, Peer will enter the first round of the competition, which starts on May 21. (Rami Hipsh)
Herzliya avenges State Cup loss to lift crown
Bnot Herzliya has won its seventh consecutive women’s handball crown, after crushing HC Holon in the second game of their three-game playoff final. Herzliya, which finished the regular season in second place and lost in the State Cup final to Holon, got its revenge on Friday, romping home 33-26 after winning Game 1 in Holon last week. Star performer for Herzliya was Rebecka Erzahi, the Norwegian-born goalie who played professionally in her country of origin and then returned to Israel. “Despite losing in the State Cup, we knew we would win the championships,” she said after the game. (Rami Hipsh)
Els is a shot off the lead at Indonesia Masters
Ernie Els shot a 4-under par 68 yesterday to leave the South African star one stroke behind leader Daisuke Kataoka of Japan after three rounds of the Indonesian Masters. Kataoka had a 66 for a total of 11-under 205 at Royale Jakarta Golf Club. Els is tied for second at 206 with Australia’s Bernd Wiesberger, who shot a 67. Canada’s Richard T. Lee (72) is at 207 followed by Taiwan’s Hung Chien-yao (70) at 208. (AP)
Flying wingers spark wins for Arsenal, Spurs
Tottenham and Arsenal relied on decisive interventions by their flying wingers yesterday to stay on course for qualification for next season’s Champions League. Gareth Bale produced yet another moment of magic to rescue a 1-0 victory for Spurs over Southampton in the Premier League, smashing home an 86th-minute winner from the edge of the area in his first game since being named English football’s player of the year.
It wasn’t enough to lift Tottenham above fierce rival Arsenal, though, as Theo Walcott scored the quickest goal of the campaign − after just 20 seconds − to earn the Gunners a 1-0 win at Queens Park Rangers. Arsenal climbed provisionally into third place − two points clear of Chelsea and Tottenham having played more games than both its London rivals. At the bottom, Wigan set up its trademark late rally to avoid relegation with a 3-2 victory, keeping the team third-from-bottom but provisionally reducing the gap to Sunderland to two points.
In the Championship, meanwhile, Hull City won automatic promotion to the Premier League after a dramatic 2-2 draw with Cardiff City on an extraordinary final day of the season. A point proved enough for Steve Bruce’s side, but they had to endure an agonizing wait as Watford − their only rivals for the second and final automatic promotion place − succumbed to a late 2-1 home defeat by Leeds United in a match delayed by around 15 minutes. Watford ended third on 77 and will go into the playoffs. (Agencies)