Manchester City pulls even with rival Manchester United in points in English Premier League | Soccer
Manchester City wins soccer match, is even in points with Manchester United in English Premier League after Man U plays to a draw at Birmingham.
Manchester City pulls even with rival Manchester United in points: Manchester United relinquished its two-point lead in the English Premier League on Tuesday by allowing a disputed late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Birmingham.
After crosstown rival Manchester City routed struggling Aston Villa 4-0 on a hat trick by Mario Balotelli, Manchester United needed a victory to ensure it would be alone at the top of the standings entering 2011.
The two Manchester teams have 38 points apiece, although Man U has played two fewer matches and has a better goal difference.
Dimitar Berbatov scored in the 58th minute for Manchester United but Birmingham's Lee Bowyer scored in the final minute of regulation time — after teammate Nikola Zigic appeared to handle a deep cross into the box.
As well as the hand-ball appeal against Zigic, United might also note that the Serbia striker seemed to foul Rio Ferdinand as he went up to challenge for Roger Johnson's ball into the box.
"There was a hand ball, a foul on the center half — if the referee can't see it, what chance have we got?" Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "I think it's terribly harsh ... we didn't deserve that."
AC Milan director says Ronaldinho to stay "for the moment": AC Milan director Umberto Gandini said the team has no plans to part with Ronaldinho "for the moment."
Italian media have speculated the Brazilian striker will be moving to one of several interested Brazilian teams in the January transfer window, or to another Serie A club in Italy. The speculation intensified after AC Milan signed Italy forward Antonio Cassano from Sampdoria this month.
Gandini said Ronaldinho arrived Monday in Dubai and took part in training with the team.
Phillies, Romero reportedly reach a deal: Earlier in the offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies seemingly found their replacement for J.C. Romero, who had spent four seasons as the team's primary left-hander out of the bullpen.
But once their deal with Dennys Reyes fell through, they decided their next-best option was, well, Romero.
Two baseball sources confirmed the Phillies have agreed to terms with Romero on a one-year contract. The deal, which has yet to be finalized, is pending a physical. Romero is in Puerto Rico with his family for the holidays and the physical might not take place until next month.
Romero, 34, made $4 million this year. Shortly after the season ended, the Phillies declined a $4.5 million option for 2011, instead paying Romero a $250,000 buyout.
The Phillies reportedly agreed in principle on a one-year, $1.1 million deal with Reyes. But after Reyes' physical in Philadelphia, the two sides could not finalize the contract.
Timmer exits: Marianne Timmer, a three-time Olympic gold medalist from the Netherlands, has retired. She is 36.
Timmer had planned to quit after this World Cup season. But after a disappointing showing at the Netherlands' sprint championships, she decided to leave the sport immediately. Timmer was 14th in the 500-meter race Monday and withdrew from other races, saying she was suffering from the flu.
Wild Oats XI prevails in Sydney-to-Hobart race: Wild Oats XI has been confirmed as line-honors winner of the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race in Australia after an international jury dismissed a protest that threatened its fifth victory in six years.
The 100-foot super maxi crossed the finish line off Hobart's Constitution Dock but its victory was jeopardized when the race committee protested, saying the yacht did not have an operational high-frequency radio as it passed Green Cape and entered Bass Strait, which separates the island state of Tasmania from the Australian mainland.
A five-man international jury meeting in Hobart dismissed the protest and confirmed Wild Oats as line-honors winner.
Skippered by Mark Richards, Wild Oats reached the finish 2 days, 7 hours, 37 minutes, 20 seconds after leaving Sydney and almost 31 miles ahead of its nearest rival — fellow super maxi Investec Loyal.
The radio rule was introduced after the disastrous 1998 race, hit by a massive storm in which six sailors drowned.
"From my point of view, passing Green Cape is one of the fundamental safety rules of the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race," race committee chairman Tim Cox said.
"It's one of the breaches which I personally consider to be one of the more serious ones ... that's also shared by the members of the race committee."
BMW to end sponsorship of America's Cup champion: America's Cup champion BMW Oracle Racing officials say German automaker BMW is ending its sponsorship at the end of the year, by mutual agreement.
BMW has been part of the syndicate since 2002, contributing in the areas of structural engineering and lightweight, composite construction.
BMW Oracle Racing swept Alinghi of Switzerland in two races in February near Valencia, Spain, to win the America's Cup, the oldest trophy in international sports. Its radical trimaran was the fastest boat in the history of the America's Cup.
BMW Oracle Racing is owned by Larry Ellison, chief executive officer of business software maker Oracle Corp.
Seattle Times news services
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
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