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Man U reaches Champions League quarterfinals

Manchester United still has a chance to win a trophy in David Moyes’ tumult-filled first season as Alex Ferguson’s successor.

Robin van Persie scored a hat trick in a 3-0 win over Olympiakos on Wednesday night that advanced United into the Champions League quarterfinals on 3-2 aggregate.

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“I don’t want to come out here and say this is the moment,” Moyes said, “but at the same time I really hope it is. We know it is a work in progress, and it is going to take time to get things the way we want it.”

Borussia Dortmund, defeated by German rival Bayern Munich in last year’s final, lost 2-1 at home to Zenit St. Petersburg in the night’s other match but advanced on 5-4 aggregate.

Defender Cherundolo retires

American defender Steve Cherundolo, nicknamed “Mayor of Hannover” during a 15-year career that saw him play for just one club and rise to become Hannover’s captain, is retiring because of persistent knee injuries.

Cherundolo, who played at the University of Portland, said Wednesday that several knee injuries in the last 15 months made it impossible to continue playing and that he was becoming assistant coach of Hannover’s under-23 team.

The 35-year-old right back, a member of the U.S. team at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cup, played a in club-record 302 Bundesliga games for Hannover.

Cherundolo had left knee surgery in February, returned for five games in April and May, then had another knee operation in August


Palmer says age, competition factors for Woods

Arnold Palmer believes age will be an issue as 38-year-old Tiger Woods tries to break the major championship record.

The standard all along for Woods has been the 18 professional majors Jack Nicklaus won over 25 seasons. Woods reached his 14th major when he was 32, but he has not won another since that 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. And now the world’s No. 1 player is coping with an ailing back.

“I don’t think 38 years is the ultimate stopping point for his quest to do what Jack did,” Palmer said Wednesday at Bay Hill. “I think it lessens the possibility of that happening. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough to keep the concentration and the type of the game that is necessary to win majors.”

Nicklaus won four of his majors after turning 38. Ben Hogan, with battered legs from a car accident, won five majors after turning 38.

Palmer, however, believes more than age is at stake for Woods.

“These young guys are tough, and they’re strong,” Palmer said. “And if they continue to play as well as they’ve been playing, it’s going to be tough for anybody — whether it be Nicklaus or Tiger or whomever it would be — to continue to win major championships. And we’re talking about guys that are playing good and coming on.”

Study suggests titanium clubs can start fires

Golfers are urged to swing with care after scientists at the University of California, Irvine, proved that titanium-coated clubs can cause course-side vegetation to burst into flames.

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said Wednesday that the results confirm a suspicion investigators have had for years: that titanium alloy clubs were the cause of at least two blazes on area golf courses, including one that burned 25 acres at Irvine’s Shady Canyon in 2010. A second fire, sparked at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, burned close to homes.

Track and field

Pistorius’ girlfriend was standing when shot

Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend was standing in a toilet cubicle and facing the closed door when she was hit in the right hip by the first of four bullets that he fired, a police ballistics expert testified Wednesday at the double-amputee runner’s murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa.

Reeva Steenkamp fell back onto a magazine holder in the cubicle and crossed her arms over her head to protect herself, said Capt. Christiaan Mangena. The second bullet missed Steenkamp and ricocheted off the wall and broke into fragments, bruising her back, he said.

Steenkamp, 29, was then hit in her right arm and in the head by the third and fourth shots fired by Pistorius with his 9 mm pistol, he said. She collapsed with her head on the toilet seat, Mangena said.

Pistorius, 27, is charged with premeditated murder in Steenkamp’s shooting death on Feb. 14 last year and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.


Lauren Davis defeated Zhang Shuai of China 6-2, 6-3 at the Sony Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., and former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro withdrew with a left wrist injury.

The 20-year-old Davis started 2014 ranked No. 72 and has moved up to No. 55.

• The European basketball federation denied reports on Wednesday that Ukraine has pulled out of hosting next year’s continental championship amid political and economic turmoil.

FIBA Europe said its board will “discuss all recent developments regarding EuroBasket 2015” at a meeting this weekend in Munich, Germany.

• Croatia defender Josip Simunic is expected to miss the World Cup after losing his appeal against a 10-match ban for leading fans in a pro-Nazi chant.

•After a fruitful two-year relationship, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has parted ways with coach Ivan Lendl — the man who turned him from a four-time Grand Slam runner-up into a two-time major champion. Murray and Lendl announced their decision on Murray’s blog.

• Texas Motor Speedway unveiled the world’s largest high-definition video board. The “Big Hoss TV” screen is 218 feet wide and about 95 feet high, surpassing the 200-foot by 85-foot board at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Times staff and news services

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