Usain Bolt has solid football debut for Central Coast Mariners in pre-season fixture

He's the fastest man in the world, but track legend Usain Bolt is prepared to take his time, after a first football cameo appearance for A-League club Central Coast Mariners last night.

The Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion predicted it would take four months for him to reach his best and was confident he would secure a contract with the Mariners by then.

Bolt played just over 20 minutes in the Mariners' 6-1 practice match win over a Central Coast football select side in Gosford.

Although it was widely known before the game that Bolt would make play a minor role in the match, the crowd of 9958 was around 2,500 higher than the Mariners' average home attendance last season.

Bolt's global appeal was underlined by the fact around 60 countries took live television coverage of the game, which was shown in Africa, Asia and Europe.

He showed the odd nice touch and the confidence to take men on, but also occasionally struggled with his ball control and appeared to have difficulty reading the play and where his teammates passes were going.

The Jamaican initially took up a position on the left wing, but had no joy with his first touch, as the ball clipped the back of one of his colourful boots.

He enjoyed a couple of good moments, releasing Jack Clisby down the left-hand side and on another occasion beating a man before losing the ball.

Bolt was quickly moved into a more central position, with a number of crosses falling tantalisingly close to him.

He narrowly failed to reach a far post cross and then had a stoppage time shot blocked.

'I think the first 15 was pretty good, the last five I could feel my back getting a little bit tight. But overalI wasn't too tired so that's a good sign,' Bolt said.

"In four months' time I'll be fit. I'll be getting a lot more time on the ball, I personally feel I will get a contract by then.

"I'll be playing much more time, it's just about working and taking my time."

Mulvey also acknowledged Bolt was till some way off peak fitness but has said he is prepared to give him 12 months to prove himself.
"I think the big fellow did OK," Mulvey said of Bolt.

"He was on a hiding to nothing a little bit nervous, but I'm quite happy with him.'

Bolt endeared himself to fans even before he came on to the pitch, touching hands with several of them when warming up down the sideline in the first half.

He wore 95 on his shirt, a reference to his 100-metre world record time of 9.58 set in Berlin nine years ago.


Watch: Goal of the season stands out as Southampton, Brighton play out south coast stalemate

Brighton have fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Southampton in the English Premier League this morning.

Glenn Murray's stoppage-time penalty capped Brighton's second-half comeback at St Mary's Stadium.

Pierre Emile Hojberg and Danny Ings put Southampton seemingly in control before Shane Duffy headed Brighton back into the game.

Southampton remain 13th in the table, one place above Brighton.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored a rocket in this morning's 2-2 draw. Source: SKY


'It was a bad mistake' - Brazil star apologises after spitting in face of rival

Juventus winger Douglas Costa has apologised but faces a lengthy ban after spitting in the face of Sassuolo's Federico Di Francesco during an Italian Serie A match.

The flash point came in second-half stoppage time as Juve saw out a 2-1 victory, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice to get off the mark this season.

Sassuolo had just pulled a goal back through Khouma Babacar when Costa and Di Francesco squared up.

Brazilian winger Costa already looked to have lost his composure after aiming an elbow and a headbutt moments earlier but the worst was to come as he spat directly at Di Francesco from inches away.

Costa was sent off after the intervention of the video assistant referee.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri admitted the behaviour was unacceptable and Costa later offered his mea culpa on Instagram.

"I would like to apologise to all Juventus fans for this misleading reaction in today's game. I also apologise to my team-mates, who are always with me in beautiful and bad moments," he wrote.

"It was a bad mistake, I am aware of it and I apologise to everyone for this. I make it clear that this isolated attitude does not correspond to what I have always shown in my career."

Now Costa could see the Italian authorities clamp down on his behaviour.

"Even if he was fouled, these episodes must not happen," Allegri told reporters.

"The only thing we have to avoid doing this year is rising to the provocation.

"We had the game where we wanted it but we started playing as individuals and not as a team."

Allegri added that Costa will face club sanctions.

"It's only right that he (Costa) is fined, and he certainly will be... I was surprised by his reaction," he said.

"We have suffered a goal, a red card and a suspension which will be long."




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