Under-14 team wins :

KATHMANDU: Sudan Shrestha scored a hat-trick as the Nepali Under-14 team blanked Madhya Pradesh team 9-0 in the Subroto Mukherjee Cup football tournament in New Delhi on Thursday. Bishal Rai struck twice while Suman Khadka, Rupesh KC, Sushil KC and Niraj Magar scored one apiece for the Nepali team that takes on Uttar Pradesh in its third match on Friday. The Nepali Under-17 team has already reached the semi-finals and will play against Chandigarh on Friday. — HNS

Vaughan hopeful :

LONDON: Injured England captain Michael Vaughan said on Thursday he was hopeful of being fit to play a part in the Ashes series this winter. Vaughan guided England to victory over Australia in 2005 but has not played Test cricket this year due to a knee injury. He has begun running again and there has been talk he could play in the final two Tests. — AFP

Cullen replaces Clarke :

BRISBANE: Spinner Dan Cullen was drafted into Australia’s Champions Trophy squad on Thursday to replace injured fast bowler Stuart Clark. Cricket Australia’s amendment to the 14-man squad has to be approved by the International Cricket Council, which should be a formality after Clark injured his left thigh in a club match last weekend. — AP

Scott Styris cleared :

WELLINGTON: New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris has been cleared to play in the Champions Trophy after coming through a training camp unscathed over the last week. Styris had been given the all-clear along with other bowlers returning from injury. Shane Bond, Daniel Vettori, Jacob Oram and Kyle Mills are all returning from injuries. — AFP

Former champ retires :

SAO PAULO: Four-time world champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas of Brazil has retired from professional boxing. The 30-year-old Freitas, whose last fight in April was a split decision win over Zahir Raheem of the US for the vacant WBO lightweight belt, won the WBO superfeatherweight title in 1999, and added the WBA belt in 2002 defeating Joel Casamayor. — AP

Anelka recalled :

PARIS: France’s World Cup exile Nicolas Anelka has been called up to the national side on Thursday by coach Raymond Domenech. The Bolton striker will join the squad for Euro 2008 qualifiers against Scotland on Saturday and the Faroe Islands four days later. His name has been added to the 20-man list already named and he does not replace any player. — AFP

Paparesta ban lifted :

Rome: The Italian football federation’s Federal Court lifted the eight-month ban placed on referee Gianluca Paparesta for his suspected involvement in the match-fixing scandal. The 37-year-old match official received the suspension from the disciplinary commission of the Italian referees association (AIA). But the Federal Court overturned the AIA’s ruling after a review of the evidence, which they considered to be weak. — AFP