International sports briefs

Diawara apologies

MADRID: Marseille defender Souleymane Diawara issued an apology on Monday for his tackle on Real Madrid star Ronaldo, which resulted in the Portuguese player being sidelined for two months with an ankle injury. “It was in the heat of the game, nothing more, I’m not a violent player, I’ve never hurt anyone,” Diawara said. Diawara picked up a second yellow card and a sending off for the tackle in the Champions League game on September 30 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The Senegalese international will meet Ronaldo again on Tuesday at the Stade Velodrome for the crucial Champions League encounter.

United woes deepen

MANCHESTER: Manchester United have been left with just one regular defender for Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Wolfsburg after Nemanja Vidic failed to recover from flu in time to travel to Germany. The Serbian centreback was left at home along with Gary Neville and Wes Brown, who both suffered injuries in Saturday’s 4-0 win at West Ham, longer-term absentees Rio Ferdinand, John O’Shea and Jonny Evans, and Brazilian twins Fabio and Rafael da Silva. France left-back Patrice Evra is the last first-team defender standing and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is resigned to fielding a makeshift back four against the German champions.