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Mixed fortunes for Malaysians

Posted: 09 Mar 2011 09:18 PM PST

Thursday, March 10th, 2011 13:09:00

PETALING JAYA: World No 1 Lee Chong Wei and top national doubles pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong managed easy wins in the opening round of the All-England Championships in Birmingham this morning.

But several Malaysians failed to progress to the second round, raising concerns about our quality.

Chong Wei outplayed Frenchman Brice Leverdez 21-19, 21- 10 while Kien Keat-Boon Heong brushed aside qualifiers Vitalji Durkin-Alexandr Nikolaenko of Russia 21-13, 21-13.

Chong Wei will meet Bao Chunlai of China while Kien Keat-Boon Heong will meet Taiwan's Cheng Hung Ling-Lin Yu Lang in the second round.

Qualifiers Zakry Abdul Latif and Hoon Thien How also had a good day when they edged Taiwanese pair Fang Chieh Min-Lee Sheng Mu 21-14, 21- 19.

However, the Malaysians will not be meeting teammates Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong in Round Two as they lost to Japan's Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa.

Wong Choong Hann was no match for China ace Lin Dan while top national singles player Wong Mew Choo also fell to another China player Wang Xin earlier today.

RESULTS

First round
Men's singles
Lin Dan (CHN) bt Wong Choong Hann (MAS) 21-14, 21-17; Lee Chong Wei (MAS) bt Brice Leverdez 21-9, 21-10

Men's doubles
Zakry Abdul Latif-Hoon Thien How (MAS) bt Fang Chieh Min-Lee Sheng Mu (TPE) 21-14, 21-19; Mohammad
Ahsan-Bona Septano (INA) bt Fairuzizuan Tazari-Ong Soon Hock (MAS) 21-10, 19-21, 21-14; Koo Kien Keat-
Tan Boon Heong (MAS) bt Vitalji Durkin-Alexandr Nikolaenko (RUS) 21-13, 21-13; Markis Kido-Hendra
Setiawan (INA) bt Chan Peng Soon-Lim Khim Wah (MAS) 21-10, 25-23; Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa (JPN) bt Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong (MAS) 21-16, 21-18

Women's singles
Wang Xin (CHN) bt Wong Mew Choo (MAS) 21-16, 21-16

Mixed doubles
Tantowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir (INA) bt Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (MAS) 21-12, 7-21, 21-19

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Dzeko will transform into one of the best in England, says Mancini

Posted: 09 Mar 2011 09:06 PM PST

Thursday, March 10th, 2011 12:52:00

LONDON: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is confident Edin Dzeko will establish himself as one of the best strikers in England despite a slow start for the club.

Dzeko, 24, is still feeling his way at Eastlands after arriving for a reported £24 million from Wolfsburg in the January transfer window.

The Bosnian's only goals so far have come in cup competitions and he could return to the team in the Europa League last-16 first-leg meeting with Dynamo Kiev tomorrow (4am) after starting on the bench against Wigan in the Premier League last weekend.

Mancini opted instead for a partnership of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli but is positive Dzeko will go on to make a big impact.

"These three strikers can play together sometimes, but not always. When they do, it's important that they work. As for Dzeko, it is not easy to start with a new team in a new league in January, but I believe he will become one of the best strikers in England."

Yesterday, City trained at Carrington rather than in Kiev for the Dynamo match, where temperatures have dipped to below freezing with the remnants of snow littering the city.

"It will be a difficult game but it's only the first-half. I hope we can play a good game, score a goal and win if possible. We have good players and a good squad. I don't know what kind of football we can play. The problem is the pitch. It's so hard because it's cold at the moment."

Winger Shaun Wright-Phillips could come into contention after missing two games with a back problem, while Nigel de Jong, who has recovered from an ankle injury, is pushing for his first start in over a month.

Midfielder James Milner is absent with a hamstring strain however, while Kolo Toure is banned indefinitely after failing a drugs test.

"Kolo is a serious professional player. We said one week ago that we want to win games for him."

Dynamo dropped out of the Champions League but Mancini is aware of the damage former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko could do to his team.

"I know Shevchenko because he played in Italy for a long time. He was a fantastic player and he's one of the best players in their team. Kiev are a good team. Shevchenko has other important players around him."

Tomorrow's game will be City's 17th in 69 days and Mancini joked: "We need a holiday.

"We have had two days off to recover but it's impossible that we can be fresh when we play one game every few days."

Dynamo have not lost in six Uefa home matches since a 2-1 Champions League group stage defeat to Barcelona in December 2009.

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