Vukcevic 'improving' after car accident


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Hoffenheim midfielder Boris Vukcevic's life is no longer in danger from head injuries sustained in a car accident, although it is still too early for a long-term prognosis.

The Bundesliga club say the 22-year-old player remains in an induced coma but that his condition has "further stabilised".

Vukcevic is a diabetic and police say he had a sudden drop in blood sugar level when he lost control of his car and crashed head-on with a truck on 28 September on the road between Heidelberg and Hoffenheim.

A Croatian-born German, Vukcevic has made 78 Bundesliga appearances for Hoffenheim, and six for Germany's Under-21 team.

Juventus assistant coach Angelo Alessio has had his match-fixing ban reduced from six to two months. Following the decision by Italy's sports arbitration court, Alessio can return next week for the highly awaited match against Serie A co-leaders Napoli.

Alessio was originally banned for eight months, then the sentence was reduced to six months on appeal. Last week, Juventus head coach Antonio Conte had his ban reduced from 10 to four months. The bans stem from wrongdoing when the pair were at Siena two years ago. Another assistant, Massimo Carrera, has been filling in for Conte.

Bologna defender Daniele Portanova's six-month ban for failing to report match-fixing was also cut yesterday, to four months by the Italian sporting tribunal.

The centre-back will now be able to play again from 8 December but will not be happy with his sentence after saying on Thursday that he wanted to be acquitted of all charges. "I want them to tell me that I can start playing again immediately, that they recognise my innocence, because what I'm experiencing, it's not right," he said.

Portanova was initially banned for six months in August for failing to report match-fixing at a game in 2011 when already-relegated Bari beat Bologna 4-0.

Portanova's lawyer Gabriele Bordoni said the reduction was worthless.

"At this point the tribunal may as well leave the ban at six months as at least then we could fight again," he said.

"With less than two months to go till the end of the ban there is no time to appeal again as any type of appeal would need a month.

"I'm speechless, it makes you think about moving away from this country."