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Heat too Good for Mavericks as NBA Begins

The Miami Heat took a small measure of revenge for losing last season's NBA finals series to Dallas by beating the Mavericks 105-94 on Christmas Day as the new campaign got off to its belated start.

After months of labor and legal disputes, the 2011-12 season finally began and Miami laid down a marker of its championship credentials.

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Disabled Fans to Receive Free World Cup Tickets

Former playing greats Romario and Ronaldo have announced a plan to donate 32,000 free tickets to disabled fans to watch matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Romario, a World Cup winner in 1994 who has since been elected to the Brazilian parliament, had requested the free tickets from the organizing committee. The former Brazil striker, who has a daughter with Down syndrome, had tears in his eyes as he announced the giveaway Friday.

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Man United Hoping to Turn up Heat on City

Almost halfway through the Premier League season and there is already seven points separating Manchester rivals City and United from the chasing pack.

"At this point in time everyone thinks it is going to be a one-two for the city (of Manchester)," United manager Alex Ferguson said Friday. "But things change. You only need to go back over the years to see how dramatic our league can be. Lose a game in this league and all the rest get a pickup and start chasing harder."

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Giggs Ready to Discuss New United Deal

Evergreen Ryan Giggs will shortly discuss his Old Trafford future with Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, buoyed by still delivering high standard performances at the age of 38.

Ferguson described the Welshman's contribution to United's 5-0 win at Fulham in midweek as "incredible", and it also featured the midfielder's first Premier League goal of the season.

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Sharapova out of Brisbane Event with Ankle Injury

Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Brisbane International because of her continuing recovery from a left ankle injury first suffered at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo in September.

Sharapova told Brisbane tournament officials in a statement released Saturday that "unfortunately my ankle is not 100 percent and I won't be able to make it this year." It would have been her first appearance at the Brisbane event which begins Jan. 1.

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ManU Boss Ferguson Relieved as Jones Fears Allayed

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson received a welcome boost on Friday after it was confirmed Phil Jones had not suffered a fractured cheekbone against Fulham.

England international Jones was forced to leave the field after 20 minutes of Wednesday's 5-0 rout of the Cottagers following a heavy aerial collision.

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Ancelotti Set to Replace Kombouare at PSG

Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly on the verge of taking over at big-spending French club Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG is widely expected to part ways with Antoine Kombouare despite leading the French league going into the winter break, with French and Italian newspapers reporting Friday that Ancelotti is close to being hired as his replacement.

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Iniesta out for at Least 2 Weeks with Thigh Injury

Barcelona says midfielder Andres Iniesta will be sidelined for at least two weeks after injuring his right thigh in a Copa del Rey match on Thursday.

Iniesta tangled with Hospitalet goalkeeper Carlos Craviotto in the 28th minute, and was substituted two minutes later as coach Pep Guardiola held his head fearing the worst.

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Yaya Toure Wins African Player of the Year

Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure has been named African Player of the Year at an awards ceremony in the Ghanaian capital Accra.

The Manchester City player won ahead of Mali and Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita, with Ghana forward Andre Ayew — who plays for French club Marseille — third.

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Madrid Gets Malaga, Barcelona Plays Osasuna in Cup

Big-spending Malaga was drawn against defending champion Real Madrid for the Copa del Rey's round of 16, while Osasuna gets the unenviable task of facing 25-time champion Barcelona.

Barcelona routed third-tier side Hospitalet 10-0 over two legs to advance, while Madrid easily overcame another minnow in Ponferradina.

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