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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

West Ham Strikers Dazzle in Debut

LONDON -- West Ham's new strike force of John Hartson and Paul Kitson made swift down payments on their transfer fees as the relegation-threatened premier league club beat fellow Londoners Tottenham 4-3.


Both hit first half goals on their home debuts as West Ham moved out of the bottom three and severely dented Tottenham's faint European hopes.


Kitson, signed from Newcastle for ?2.3 million ($3.7 million) earlier this month, was the first of the pair to score as West Ham took a 2-1 lead in an action-packed thriller played in atrocious conditions.


He latched on to an inswinging Michael Hughes' corner and slid the ball past goalkeeper Ian Walker for the second West Ham goal in the space of two minutes.


With both sides playing at a furious pace despite the rain and howling wind, England midfielder Darren Anderton equalized for Tottenham with a superb lob.


But the Hammers regained the lead in the 37th minute when Welsh striker Hartson, signed 10 days ago for a club record ?5 million from Arsenal, raced through to head home powerfully from a Julian Dicks free-kick.


Tottenham had taken the lead after only six minutes through a superb header by Teddy Sheringham, returning after missing six games through injury.


Dicks brought the home side level with a carefully placed header in the 20th minute.


Tottenham hopes were revived in the 53rd minute when a neat back-heel by Sheringham left David Howells well placed to drill the ball home from the edge of the penalty area, but West Ham captain Dicks sealed the game with a penalty after Howells was adjudged to have brought down Hartson.


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The lawyer for former Wimbledon striker John Fashanu on Monday denied his client was guilty of fixing soccer matches and said there was absolutely no evidence to suggest he was corrupt.


Trevor Burke told a court that the prosecution had failed to prove Fashanu was involved in any attempt to fix matches for an Asian betting syndicate.


Burke said Fashanu, 34, was a wealthy man in his own right and said it was ludicrous to suggest he had been corrupted by some short-term get-rich scheme.


"Money, you may infer, is not this man's overriding principle in life," Burke said, adding that Fashanu did not need money and had married a woman of substantial wealth. "There is a substantial fortune this man can call his own," Burke said. "Is this the type of man, knowing what you do about him, that would be motivated by greed?"


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Argentine veteran Diego Maradona has called for players to have more say in the way world soccer is run.


Maradona, president of the International Association of Professional Footballers, told a meeting of the fledgling body that "the player is most important of all, and we are going to defend him until death."


He offered to open a dialogue with FIFA president Joao Havelange and his secretary general Sepp Blatter, saying: "We can speak on good terms if they want to talk. We want to resolve things, not to leave them on the sidelines. But we want to defend our rights."


Maradona went on: "Until now, Blatter, a mere functionary, and Havelange, who once played waterpolo, have decided what happens on the soccer pitch," something that he said had to change. (AP, Reuters)