Former footballer dies

BUCHAREST: Nicolae Dobrin, an attacking midfielder who played 48 times for Romania, died on Friday from lung cancer. He was 60. Dobrin, known for his dribbling and passing skills, played his first match in Romania’s top division at the age of 15 and scored a total of 111 goals from 408 league games. He was widely considered to be one of Romania’s best ever players but did not take part in the 1970 World Cup despite being in the squad. Dobrin scored six goals for Romania during his career. — AP

Davydenko fined

ST PETERSBURG: Nikolay Davydenko, already at the center of a betting investigation, was fined $2,000 for not trying hard enough during a loss at the St Petersburg Open. The ATP said on Friday that the fourth-ranked Russian was fined for “lack of best effort” in Thursday’s 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 defeat to Marian Cilic. The top-seeded Davydenko won the first set in 27 minutes, but drew a rebuke from chair umpire Jean-Philippe Dercq in the third set. — AP

Vieira’s injury

MILAN: France and Inter Milan defender Patrick Vieira could be out until the new year with a leg injury. Vieira was diagnosed with a sprained right calf on Thursday, two days after coming off during the club’s 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League. Inter spokesman Andrea Butti said it was impossible to put an exact date on when Vieira was likely to return, but Gazzetta dello Sport reported he was unlikely to play until January 13, when Inter faces Siena in the Italian first division. — AP

Hicks backs Benitez

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is supporting manager Rafael Benitez after a 2-1 defeat at Besiktas left the Reds bottom of their Champions League group. “We back Rafa — he’s the right manager,” Hicks said. Liverpool won the 2005 Champions League in Benitez’s first season in charge. It also made last season’s final, losing 2-1 to AC Milan. — AP