In Brief


Giants rushing leader Barber plans to attempt comeback

After four years in retirement, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber is looking to get back into the NFL.

It won’t be with New York, though.

The Giants acknowledged Tuesday that the 35-year-old Barber has asked to be taken off the reserve-retirement list and that they will release him once the league allows it. Teams cannot make roster moves during the current extension of the collective bargaining agreement talks.

Barber is New York’s career rushing leader with 10,449 yards, 22nd best in league history.

Barber retired after the 2006 season, the year before the Giants’ stunning Super Bowl win over the previously undefeated New England Patriots. He had two years left on his contract when he left the game for a job in television, so New York still holds his rights.


Messi, ‘total joke’ let Barcelona move on in Champions League

Arsenal’s only shot of the night turned the game — in favor of Barcelona.

Robin van Persie was ejected in the 56th minute for shooting after the referee had blown his whistle, Xavi Hernandez scored as Barcelona pressed its man advantage and Lionel Messi followed with a penalty kick for his second goal of the night.

With a 3-1 victory at London and a 4-3 aggregate win, Barcelona advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals and eliminated the Gunners for the second straight year.

“It’s a total joke,” van Persie said. “I tried to explain there were 95,000 people jumping up. How can I hear the whistle? … We feel betrayed a bit. When it was 1-1 it was all to play for, and in my opinion this referee killed the game.”

In the day’s other game, Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk beat visiting Roma 3-0 and advanced 6-2 on aggregate to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.

Also: A man wearing nothing but a bright green thong and a curly black wig dashed onto the field during a low-level game in England on Monday. Dorchester player-manager Ashley Vickers ended the intruder’s 30-second jaunt with a thudding, neck-high tackle in the 70th minute against Havant & Waterlooville.

Vickers was shown a red card for violent conduct with the score 1-1.

“I’m dumbfounded and speechless,” Vickers told local newspaper The Dorset Echo. “My only thought was to get hold of him so we could get on with the game. … The funny thing was the stewards actually thanked me for it. But the ref decided to send me off.”

Dorchester lost, 3-1.


No. 14 Arizona puts hurt
on UNLV baseball team

The UNLV baseball team lost to No. 14 Arizona 12-1 in the opener of a two-game series at Wilson Stadium, snapping the Rebels’ four-game win streak.

The Wildcats (10-2) led 8-0 before UNLV (11-3) got its lone run, on a Trent Cook RBI groundout in the sixth inning.

Arizona rapped out 16 hits, including five during a four-run ninth, while the Rebels mustered just three hits.

Also: Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-5 in an exhibition tennis match at the University of Oregon’s new $227 million basketball arena in Eugene.

Two days before the start of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., some of the biggest names in tennis were in this Pacific Northwest college town.

Joining Nadal, the No. 1 player in the world, and No. 2 Federer at the Clash of the Champions were fellow Nike-sponsored athletes Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka. John McEnroe was a surprise guest at the event.

Italian rider Franco Pellizotti was found guilty of doping and banned for two years in a landmark victory for cycling’s blood profiling program.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Geneva ruled that evidence of doping was confirmed in Pellizotti’s biological passport profile.

Pietro Caucchioli’s appeal against his two-year suspension imposed by the Italian Olympic Committee on the basis of biological passport results was also rejected.

Pellizotti and Caucchioli never tested positive for banned drugs but showed irregular results in blood samples taken for a biological passport.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is proving to be a challenge for even the most accomplished mushers this year.

Four-time champion Martin Buser was the first musher into the checkpoint at Nikolai, Alaska, but not without challenge.

His dog team became entangled with Jamaican musher Newton Marshall’s team and five of Buser’s dogs got free. Another musher found three of the dogs, and two trotted into the next checkpoint on their own, but the mishap cost Buser time.

Five-time champion Rick Swenson crashed his sled and perhaps broke his collarbone. And veteran Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe got lost before turning her sled around and finding the trail again.

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