2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Barca edge nine-man Atletico in five-goal thriller
    Barca edge nine-man Atletico in five-goal thriller

    Neymar bagged a double as Barcelona twice came from behind to book their place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 3-2 win over nine-man Atletico Madrid to seal a 4-2 aggregate victory. Fernando Torres struck for the hosts inside the first minute to cancel out Lionel Messi's winner in last week's first leg, but Neymar grabbed a vital away goal just nine minutes later. Raul Garcia briefly restored Atletico's lead from the penalty spot, but Barca were in front by half-time thanks to a Miranda own goal and a wonderful counter-attack rounded off by Neymar. The home side should have been reduced to nine men earlier when Arda Turan somehow escaped with just a yellow card after throwing his boot at one of the officials in the second-half, but did eventually see another red card when Mario Suarez picked up a second booking late on.

  • Tennis-Murray answers coaching questions by reaching final

    * Murray overcomes fast start by Berdych * To meet either Djokovic or Wawrinka for title (Recasts, adds details, quotes) By Greg Stutchbury MELBOURNE, Jan 29 (Reuters) - With all the off-court chatter focusing on the influence of his ex-coach and present coach, Andy Murray sent out an emphatic message by reaching his fourth Australian Open final on Thursday. The Briton recovered from a blistering start by Tomas Berdych to reach title decider with a 6-7(6) 6-0 6-3 7-5 victory that should silence those who questioned his decision to appoint Amelie Mauresmo as his coach. It was a brave choice from her to do it and hopefully I can repay her in a few days (because) I think we have shown that women are very good coaches." The build-up to the semi-final against Berdych had also been peppered with extra tension after the Czech appointed Dani Vallverdu -- a former member of Murray's coaching team -- as his coach last month.

  • 'Surprised' Serena sets up dream Sharapova final

    By Greg Stutchbury MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena Williams overcame feisty teenage challenger Madison Keys to set up a dream Australian Open final with Maria Sharapova on Thursday but seemed to be the only person surprised she had made it that far. The world number one had to battle against Keys, considered the heir apparent as the queen of American womens' tennis, before she eventually overcame the 19-year-old 7-6(5) 6-2 to set up the final against the Russian. Williams, a five times champion at Melbourne Park, however, felt she entered the tournament in a funk, having played badly at the Hopman Cup in Perth earlier this month and mindful she had crashed out to lower ranked players in the last three years. "I didn't expect to get to the finals of this tournament when I first got here because I wasn't playing great," she said after she made her first Melbourne Park final since 2010.

  • Defense rests in penalty phase of Jodi Arias trial

    (Reuters) - Defense attorneys for convicted killer Jodi Arias have rested their case in the penalty phase of her trial in Phoenix without calling her back to the witness stand, court officials said on Tuesday. Arias, 34, faces the death penalty for the 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, who was found in the shower of his Phoenix-area home, stabbed 27 times, his throat slashed and shot in the face. As part of her sentencing retrial that began in October, Arias spent parts of two days in late October and early November testifying before jurors in Maricopa County Superior Court without the public or the media present for the proceedings. It was not clear if the order that Arias' testimony be public was a factor in the decision by defense lawyers not to put her back on the witness stand.

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