Sunday, February 29, 2004 

Alex da Costa close to PSV

The 21-year-old Brazilian defender Alex Rodriguez Diaz da Costa has undergone a medical Geldrop St.Anna hospital.
PSV has been interested for quite some time yet in Alex, who is currently in the service of the Brazilian club FC Santos. The outcome of the medical examinations is expected on Sunday afternoon and if they are favourable, negotiations to close a deal are set to start.



Villareal 0-1 Athletic

Athletic new how to use it's goal chances by 100%, and, in an effortly match, took three precious points from El Madrigal, that mantains the basques in the european positions, and keeps Villareal away from the same.

VILLAREAL: Reina, Belletti, Ballesteros, Coloccini, Arruabarrena, Battaglia, Josico, Riquelme, Roger (José Mari, 59'), Víctor (Guayre, 65'), Anderson

ATHLETIC: Aranzubia, Javi González, Luis Prieto, Karanka, Del Horno, Orbaiz, Iraola (Gurpegui, 53'), Jonan García (Larrazabal, 72'), Tiko, Ezquerro, Joseba Etxeberria (Lacruz, 89').

GOALS: 0-1, Jonan García (45')


Benfica Centenarium

Benfica, portuguese more popular club, made 100 years of existence last saturday. In an homenage to the "Eagles", Football United Team had been in the New Stadium of the Light to watch live the last match before the centenarium, namely the Uefa Cup match Benfica-Rosenborg (the 250th Benfica European Cups game)

Here are some pictures of the wonderfull stadium of Benfica, that will receive the final of the EURO 2004 next July in Portugal, and also of the FU Team in action.

Congratulations Benfica!!!!!



Bundesliga round 22: HSV 3 - 1 Bayer Leverkusen

A crowd of 43,023 saw HSV deservedly beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 in the AOL Arena this afternoon. Goals by the HSV skipper Nico Jan Hoogma (10.), Mehdi Mahdavikia (16./penalty) and Bernardo Romeo (35.), did the business for Coach Klaus Toppmöller, who put one over on his former club. Leverkusen replied with a goal on 39 minutes by Schneider, but that was all the visitors could manage. Now Bayer Leverkusen must face the possibility of not playing European football next season, while HSV is sitting pretty in 8th place in the Bundesliga table, nicely poised to attack the UEFA Cup places.

HSV: Wächter - Schlicke, Hoogma, Reinhardt, Kling - Mahdavikia, Benjamin, Jarolim (88. Fukal), Rahn (63. Takahara) - Romeo (82. Beinlich), Barbarez.

Leverkusen: Butt - Fritz, Nowotny, Lucic, Placente - Ramelow -Bierofka, Schneider, Babic - Neuville (46. Franca), Berbatov

Goals: 1:0 Hoogma (10.), 2:0 Mahdavikia (16./Foulelfmeter), 3:0 Romeo (35.), 3:1 Schneider (39.)


Saturday, February 28, 2004 

Benfica's century of success

SL Benfica are holding a weekend-long party to mark their centenary - but there are mixed feelings at Portugal's most successful club after a decade of mixed fortunes.

Since their 30th Portuguese championship in 1993/94, they are yet to win another title, and again this season cup competitions remain their only realistic chance of silverware and reducing their financial headaches. Still, with a brand-new 65,000-seat Estádio da Luz built for the UEFA EURO 2004™ final and a record of honours few clubs in Europe can match, there is much to celebrate.

Early years
Grupo Sport Benfica were founded on 28 February 1904, before merging with Sport Clube de Benfica and taking their current name on 30 June 1908. Lisbon champions for the first time in 1909/10, their contest for regional supremacy with Sporting Clube de Portugal escalated when a nationwide competition emerged in the 1920s, becoming the present-day league in 1938.

European Cup triumph
Sporting had the better of the next two decades, but that changed in 1961 when a Benfica team coached by Hungarian Béla Guttmann defeated FC Barcelona to win the European Champion Clubs' Cup. Then arrived a shy Mozambican-born 19-year-old who was to become a legend.

Eusébio signed
Guttmann first heard the name of Eusébio in a hairdresser's salon in Lisbon. In the chair next to him was São Paulo FC's coach, whose team were touring Portugal. He told Guttmann about a brilliant footballer he had seen in Mozambique. Within a week Guttmann had bought Eusébio, who was then playing for Sporting's nursery club, but was hidden away in an Algarve fishing village by Benfica on arrival in Portugal until the arguments between the clubs died down.

Madrid beaten
Within a year Eusébio lined up in the 1961/62 European Cup final against the Real Madrid CF side of Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás. At half-time a Puskás hat-trick had put Madrid 3-2 up, but after Benfica had levelled, Eusébio scored on 65 and 68 minutes to seal a superb 5-3 win against his idol Di Stéfano.

Glittering period
In Eusébio's 15 seasons at Benfica, only two produced no major honours - 1965/6, when he went on to inspire Portugal to the 1966 FIFA World Cup semi-final, and his 1974/75 swansong. From 1963/4 to 1967/68, in 1969/70 and 1972/73, Eusebio was Portugal's leading scorer - and won the first European Golden Shoe in 1967/68 and then in 1972/73. When he left Benfica, his time had produced eleven Portuguese league titles, five Portuguese Cups, one more European Cup and a further three final appearances.

Porto's rise
This was the era which cemented Benfica's reputation as one of the legends of European football, along with the likes of Madrid and AC Milan. However, with Eusébio gone, Benfica found it hard to maintain their dominance, as FC Porto emerged as a well-organised unit who seem set for their 13th title in two decades this season.

More trophies
Still, Benfica remain a potent force. They won five championships in the 1980s and two in the following decade, and in 1995/96 took their tally of Portuguese Cups to 23, still ten ahead of anyone else. Benfica also reached their sixth and seventh European Cup finals in 1987/88 and 1989/90, losing to PSV Eindhoven and AC Milan respectively.

Firework party
So they have earned their weekend of festivities, from Friday night's dinner including the presentation of a cake with 100 candles, to fireworks after Sunday's match against Moreirense FC. However, the birthday present Benfica really want would be to wrest back the mantle of Portugal's No1 club from Porto.


Friday, February 27, 2004 

Uefa Cup Report: Benfica 1 - 0 Rosenborg

Zlatko Zahovic scored the only goal of the game as SL Benfica took an important step towards the fourth round of the UEFA Cup with a 1-0 third round first-leg victory at home against Rosenborg BK. But José Camacho’s side will feel disappointed not to be taking a greater advantage with them to Norway next week after dominating a one-sided match.

There were no surprises in the Benfica team with Tomislav Sokota and Luisão both injured and Fyssas Panagiotis cup-tied. Rosenborg, as expected, were without the injured Roar Strand.

Benfica started brightly, attacking down both flanks with Armando Petit providing the anchor in the centre of midfield. Rosenborg were content to sit back and soak up the Benfica pressure, but the home side almost found a way through as early as the fifth minute, Nuno Gomes forcing Johnsen into a diving save to his right with a powerful shot from outside the box. Johnsen saved sharply again eight minutes later, this time from Simão Sabrosa as Benfica continued to press.

Rosenborg were pegged back for long spells, leaving Azar Karadas up front as their main attacking outlet, supported from deep by Øyvind Storflor and Martin Brattbakk. But they were creating chances on the break and José Moreira was called on to save well on 29 minutes before turning away a shot from Brattbakk five minutes before the interval.

Benfica hit back with good interplay between Simão and Armando Sá on the left, but the latter shot weakly when through on goal and the chance was wasted. Opportunities fell to both sides early in the second half, with Simão shooting narrowly wide before Moreira came off his line to save well at the feet of Karadas on 47 minutes.

Nuno Gomes then contrived to miss from close range after a Petit corner had eluded the Rosenborg defence, but on 59 minutes the breakthrough finally came, Joao Pereira and Nuno Gomes combining to release Zahovic, whose powerful shot from outside the area flashed past Johnsen.

From then on only the goalkeeper stood between Benfica and a greater winning margin. On 61 minutes he brilliantly blocked Simão’s attempt with his feet and eight minutes after that Joao Pereira put Luis Miguel through, but Johnsen was again equal to the challenge to leave Rosenborg with a chance next week.

Goal: Zahovic 59´



Uefa Cup Report: Perugia 0 - 0 PSV

Perugia held PSV Eindhoven at home to keep alive their fairytale of reaching the next round of the Uefa Cup, under a heavy rainfall and final pressure by the Dutch side.

Balanced and open first half which however was heavily conditioned by the heavy rain and soggy pitch. In fact Perugia started out strong but PSV grew in the final minutes and went very close to taking the lead but Kalac saved the day on a close range shot by Kezman.

Ravanelli, who was Perugia's captain, was causing havoc to the PSV defence, however his team mates were not up to par and failed to deliver what the white haired striker reaped. On the other side, Park was unstoppable as he created a lot on the right hand side as the Perugia defence seemed unable to stop the Japanese player.

The rain kept on falling heavily and conditioning the match at the start of the second half. The home side started very well again with Ze Maria and Do Prado going close to giving the lead to Perugia in the early minutes of the second half.

The weather limited both teams as real goal scoring opportunities were lacking, however the game was always intense and could have gone either way. PSV again improved with the passing of the minutes and Park and Van Bommel had good chances which they both missed.

Perugia seemed happy with the 0-0 and so tried to hold back the more quoted opponents and in the end they succeeded in obtaining an important and prestigious result against a team who was in the run for the Champions League two months ago.

Source: Soccerage


Sochaux 2 - Inter 2

SOCHAUX - Inter's Uefa Cup adventure began with a 2-2 draw away to a vivacious Sochaux side in Thursday's third round first leg.

After a bright start from the French and some flashes of brilliance from Andy van der Meyde, Christian Vieri nodded home his fourteenth goal of the season from the Dutchman's left-wing corner kick in the 8th minute.

Inter remained compact and dealt with Sochaux's creative wing play as Guy Lacombe's men enjoyed pockets of possession. Francesco Toldo was largely untroubled by long-range shots but showed all his agility with a terrific save from Zairi's ferocious, angled shot from the left on 13 minutes.

The Nerazzurri dominated the opening stages of the second half, then Sochaux equalised in the 59th minute when Frau controlled a left-wing cross, turned Adani then shot past Toldo. Inter's reaction was instant. Alvaro Recoba received from C.Zanetti, shrugged off a challenge from Daf then rammed a left-foot shot into the far corner.

But Sochaux didn't give up and got their reward with less than ten minutes remaining. Toldo fumbled a long-range shot, then Frau pounced and hit the post before slotting the rebound into an open net.

Match facts:
Scorers: Vieri 8', Frau 59', 82', Recoba 61'
Referee: Medina Cantalejo
Booked: J. Zanetti 35', C.Zanetti 43' (misses return leg), Oruma 53', Helveg 87', Adani 88'

SOCHAUX: 1 Gnanhouan, 4 Flachez, 5 Monsoreau, 10 Oruma, 12 Isabey, 13 Frau, 17 Pedretti, 21 Diawara, 25 Mathieu, 27 Daf, 29 Zairi (8 Boudarene 77')
Subs not used: 16 Richert, 2 Tall, 3 Paisley, 14 Lonfat, 19 Raschke, 20 Diarra
Coach: Guy Lacombe

INTER: 1 Toldo , 2 Cordoba , 4 J. Zanetti , 6 C.Zanetti , 7 van der Meyde (22 Okan 58'), 8 Lamouchi , 13 Helveg , 15 Adani , 20 Recoba (9 Cruz 90'+1'), 26 Pasquale , 32 Vieri
Subs not used: 12 Fontana , 18 Kily Gonzalez , 19 Karagounis , 29 Biava , 34 Nossa
Coach: Alberto Zaccheroni


Thursday, February 26, 2004 

River Plate 4-1 Libertad

Coudet bows down to fans after scoring.

Los Millionarios too strong to handle.

River Plate played a wonderfull game last night to achieve the first win in the Copa Libertadores. Man of the match, Eduardo Coudet, scored two and lead River to one of the most brilliant performances in the Astrada era.

Libertad started the game too defensive, but could not stop the offensive flow of the home-team, that went to half-time winning 2-0, with goals by Coudet and Cavenaghi. In the second half River started more relaxed, wich allowed the paraguayan team to pull one back. But in a brilliant play by Coudet, the midfielder reassured the fans, by scoring his second, and deciding it for River. Near the end River scored one more, by Gonzalez.

The other match of group 6, between Deportes Tolima and Deportivo Táchira ended in a 1-1 draw. River's next Libertadores match will be in Colombia, against Deportes Tolima, on March 11th.

RIVER PLATE: Franco Costanzo; Ariel Garcé, Horacio Ameli, Eduardo Tuzzio, Juan Fernández; Eduardo Coudet (Gabriel Pereyra, 81'), Javier Mascherano, Luis González, Daniel Montenegro (Daniel Ludueña, 85'); Fernando Cavenaghi, Marcelo Salas (Jose Maria Sand, 66')

LIBERTAD: Justo Villar; Francisco Arce, Daniel Zanabria, Angel Amarilla, Arnaldo Vera; Angel Ortiz (Alvarenga, 45'), Carlos Bonet (Morinigo, 45'), Edgar Robles, Pedrinho; Freddy Bareiro (Zamudio, 78'), Hugo Centurión

GOALS: 1-0, Coudet (27'); 2-0, Cavenaghi (44'); 2-1, Morinigo (64'); 3-1, Coudet (74'); 4-1, Gonzaléz (93')

Group 6

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. River Plate 2 4
2. Tolima 2 2
3. Táchira 2 2
4. Libertad 2 1


UEFA Cup Preview: Benfica - Rosenborg


Benfica manager Jose Camacho has refused to acknowledge that his side are the favorites headed into Thursday's clash with Rosenborg.

"Which side advances will be decided in the second leg in Norway," he said.

Meanwhile, Rosenborg are confident they can win in Lisbon and have arrived in Portugal "prepared to score goals."

If Simao Sabrosa bring's his 'A' game than Benfica should win this contest. The diminutive winger is one of those players who can single handedly make a difference with his accurate free-kicks.

Rosenborg are organized at the back and will try to exploit some quick counter attacks to which Benfica's defence is very vulnerable.

Nonetheless, the home side should prevail. But, there will be plenty of work to be done in the second-leg if they are to advance.

Team News:


Camacho has opted to leave out Brazilian defender Luisao, Greek defender Fysass and Croatian striker Timo Sokota from his squad for this match.

All three are not 100% fit and will not be on the bench Thursday.

Nuno Gomes is expected to be the lone striker on Thursday with Zlatko Zahovic plaing in behind the Portuguese international.

The Lisbon Eagles are coming off a 3-2 defeat to Nacional in the Superliga and will be looking for a better result in Portugal on Thursday.


Rosenborg will be without key midfielder Roar Strand who is expected to miss both matches through injury.

Central defender Riseth injured himself in training and is a questionable starter.

Brattbakk will be their player to watch in attack as he looks to exploit Benfica's inconsistent defence.

Probable Starting Lineups:

Benfica: Moreira; Argel, Rocha, Armando, Miguel; Petit, Tiago, Simao, Geovanni, Zahovic; Nuno Gomes

Rosenborg: Johnsen; Hoftun, Riseth, Basma, Stensaas; Winsens, Berg, Frode Johnsen, Solli; Storflor and Brattbakk

Prediction: Benfica 2:1 Rosenborg

Source: Soccerage

Wednesday, February 25, 2004 

Sparta Praha 0-0 AC Milan

A combination of meagre finishing and superb defending ensured the first leg of the UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie between AC Sparta Praha and AC Milan finished goalless, leaving everything to play for at the San Siro in two weeks' time.

Perhaps mindful of president Silvio Berlusconi's warning that Milan should always take to the field with two strikers, Carlo Ancelotti, without the injured Jon Dahl Tomasson, paired the fit-again Filippo Inzaghi with Andriy Shevchenko. Taking the place of another victim of Saturday's 3-2 defeat of FC Internazionale, Alessandro Nesta, was Alessandro Costacurta while Cafu passed a fitness test. Sparta lined up as expected, with recent recruit Jirí Štajner the only change to a side which beat S.S. Lazio in their last European outing.

Both Ancelotti and Jirí Kotrba had predicted a tight game, yet the early exchanges were open as the two sides looked to seize the initiative. Shevchenko and Clarence Seedorf, scorer of the derby winner, combined neatly but the ball would not sit for the Ukrainian and from the clearance Sparta launched an attack which resulted in Milan goalkeeper Dida uncomfortably turning a Štajner drive away for a corner at his near post.

Sparta right-back Pavel Pergl drilled an eighth-minute shot narrowly wide and Dida was kept busy by a Karel Poborský shot which perhaps deserved more than to whistle into the goalkeeper's midriff. Inzaghi posed a threat at the other end, and in the 19th minute was played in by Kaká's delicious chip. Although the Italy striker wriggled clear of Petr Johana, Jaromír Blazek was rewarded for his bravery as he blocked Inzaghi's goalbound effort.

The tempo of the game then dropped, giving a capacity crowd at a freezing Letná little excitement from which to enliven stiffening limbs. Inzaghi had a sniff of an opening in the 32nd minute after Shevchenko cleverly dummied Seedorf's pass into his path, only for the ball to be scooped up by the alert Blazek. A frustrating half for Inzaghi ended with Johana exquisitely timing a tackle when the striker threatened to race clear from another Kaká pass.

Lukáš Zelenka, mop-haired and diminutive, drew the first save of the half from Dida as Sparta rallied following the break. Igor Glušcevic, a willing runner alongside Štajner during the first half but often snuffed out by Paolo Maldini, thought he had opened the scoring in the 52nd minute after poking in a low reverse pass. One look behind him, where a wall of white shirts were standing with arms raised, curtailed the tall striker's celebrations.

Spurred by that close call, Milan were suddenly more urgent in pushing play forward. Shevchenko almost profited immediately, in the 57th minute, only for Blazek to deny him with another smart close-range save reminiscent of his earlier one from Inzaghi. The Sparta custodian was then equal to a Shevchenko volley on the hour before the Ukrainian sliced a shot when well placed - a lacklustre finish indicative of those before it.

As if to illustrate that it was not Shevchenko's night, Blazek somehow turned his header from Andrea Pirlo's free-kick wide. The offside flag then spared his blushes when Milan's No7 contrived to clip the ball over from five metres. When Dida saved well from Shevchenko's opposite number, Zelenka, in the 84th minute a goalless draw seemed inevitable.

SPARTA PRAHA: Blazek; Pergl, Hubschman, Johana, Labant; Michalik, Kovac, Zelenka (Sivok, 90'), Poborsky; Stajner (Gluscevic, 85'), I.Gluscevic (Baranek, 74')

AC MILAN: Dida; Cafu, Maldini, Costacurta, Pancaro; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà; Shevchenko, Inzaghi (Serginho, 85')



UEFA CUP - Benfica match preview

Benfica will face Rosenborg tomorrow in Lisbon. Let´s take a closer look to the Norway Champions:

Rosenborg is the Norway Champion for 12 seasons in a row. The defence it´s getting a bit old, but it´s also the most experienced sector with players sutch as Eric Hoftun, Basma, Riseth and Stensaas. The bigguest star of the team is Orjan Berg and he plays in the midfield. But in the attack young stars are arrising sutch as Storflor and Karadas. The net is well saved with the goalkeeper from the Norway National team (Espern Johnsen).

They usually play in 4-3-3 and the strong point of the team is the attack (specially when corner kicks are taken). In the negative side is the slowliness off the defence.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004 

UEFA CUP - PSV match preview

PSV will face AC Perugia next thursday. Let´s take a close look to the dutch champions opponent:

Perugia had a poor start to the current campaign. The club has not enjoyed a single victory from thirteen league encounters. Last Saturday they seemed to have ensured their first win of the season, but trainer
Serse Cosmi saw how his team eventually let a 3-1 lead against Sampdoria slip to a 3-3 draw. It was the eighth time this season that Perugia had to settle for a draw. Bottom-of-the-table Ancona are the only other club that have not recorded a single win so far.

Trainer Cosmi is 45 years of age. Perugia are his first club in the top flight. He usually has his side play a 3-5-2 system. Perugia make their European debut this season. The club qualified for the UEFA Cup by winning the Intertoto. The Italians knocked out Dundee FC from Scotland and Aris Saloniki from Greece.

Their best-known player is undoubtedly keeper Zeljko Kalac. The former Roda JC goalie is sidelined right now, because he has sustained an injury. And the name of their Greek striker, Zisis Vrysas, may also ring a bell. Perugia have closed deals with quite a few young, rather unknown foreign players. The policy of the club has been for years to give young talented players from across the borders an opportunity to develop themselves and then sell them at a lucrative price. Their left wing defender Fabio Grosso is the only player who seems to be a candidate for being called up for the Italian national squad.

President Luciano Gaucci is a stunning appearance. He is known for his blunt remarks. Last summer he closed a deal with Al Saadi Gheddafi, the son of the Libian leader. A few weeks ago Gheddafi was caught using drugs. Gaucci seriously attempts to add a woman to his first team squad. At first he decided upon two Swedish female players, but right now he seems to prefer Birgit Prinz, the German player of the year

Gaucci frequently causes uproar. Nearly every week the President criticizes the Italian referees. He is firmly convinced that his (small) club is often treated unfairly, whereas the bigger clubs are always shown favour above other clubs. He made the world of football sit up during the World Cup in South Korea last year by announcing loudly that the Korean striker Ahn (who was responsible for knocking out Italy) was no longer welcome at this club.

Source: PSV.NL


Simão secures Benfica future

As SL Benfica prepare for Thursday's UEFA Cup third round first-leg tie with Rosenborg BK, the Portuguese club have been boosted by the news that winger Simão Sabrosa has extended his contract until June 2010.

The 24-year-old midfield player's existing deal was due to expire in 2006. However, he has been an invaluable asset since arriving from FC Barcelona in 2001/02, and is the Lisbon club's top scorer this season with ten goals.

In his first campaign with Benfica, Simão registered eleven goals, with 18 following the next term. He is also a regular in Luiz Felipe Scolari's Portugal squad, having won 24 caps, and is expected to figure in his country's UEFA EURO 2004™ campaign this summer.


Monday, February 23, 2004 

European Competitions

FU will be represented in the 1/8 finals of the Champions League by the 2002/03 European Champions AC Milan. The team from Milan will face the Czech side, Sparta Praga, tomorrow in Prague.

In the Uefa Cup 1/16 finals FU will follow the 3 teams that we still have in the competition. The Portuguese Giants, Benfica, will face the Nordic Giants Rosembourg next Thursday in the New stadium of light, in Lisbon.
The italians, Inter Milan will visit the french side Sochaux, that kicked out Borrusia Dortmund in the last round. Last, but not least, PSV will travel to Italy to face Perugia.

The FU Team wish good luck to all our teams in competition!!!

FU Team


League Standings

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Porto 23 56
2. Sporting 23 52
3. Benfica 23 47
4. Braga 23 38
5. Nacional 23 37
7. Beira-Mar 23 35
18. Est. Amadora 23 12

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Monaco 25 54
2. Lyon 25 50
3. PSG 25 49
4. Auxerre 25 45
5. Souchaux 25 45

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1 Ajax 21 55
2 PSV 22 49
3 Alkmaar 22 39
4 Feyenoord 22 39
5 Heerenveen 21 34
12. Utrecht 22 27

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Besiktas 22 51
2. Fenerbahçe 22 48
3. Trabzonspor 22 41
4. Galatasaray 22 38
5. Denizlispor 22 36

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Bremen 21 49
2. Bayer Munchen 21 42
3. Stuttgart 21 39
4. Leverkusen 21 36
5. Bochum 21 36
9. Hamburg 21 27

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Real Madrid 25 56
2. Valencia 25 51
3. Deportivo 25 50
4. Barcelona 25 46
5. Athletic 25 38

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Milan 22 55
2. Roma 22 50
3. Juventus 22 49
4. Lazio 22 40
5. Parma 22 39
6. Inter 22 36

Torneo Clausura

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Talleres 2 6
2. Velez Sarsfield 2 6
3. Gymnasia & Esgrima 2 6
4. Racing 2 4
5. Independiente 2 4
6. River Plate 2 4

Campeonato Carioca

Taça Guanabara Finals

Fluminense 2-3 Flamengo


Athletic 1-1 Betis

Real Betis claimed a respectable 1-1 draw at the San Mames against Athletic Bilbao. They went ahead through Benjamin on 53 minutes, but Santiago Ezquerro headed the equaliser shortly afterwards.

ATHLETIC: Aranzubia; Javi González, Prieto, Karanka, Del Horno; Orbaiz, Tiko; Etxeberria, Yeste (Jonan García, min.64), Ezquerro; y Urzaiz.

BETIS: Prats; Varela, Juanito, Rivas, Mingo; Ito, Benjamín; Joaquín (Arzu, min.91), Capi, Denilson (Fernando, min.72); y Alfonso (Ismael, min.70).

GOALS: 0-1, min.53: Benjamín. 1-1, min.57: Ezquerro.


Marítimo 1-0 Estrela da Amadora

A Gaúcho penalty earned CS Marítimo a 1-0 win against CF Estrela da Amadora

MARÍTIMO: Marcos; Albertino, Pepe, Van der Gaag, Eusébio; Wénio, Chainho; Alan (Zeca, 86'), Leo Lima (Marcio Abreu, 74'), Danny; Gaúcho (Souza, 62')

EST. AMADORA: Veiga; Rui Neves (Davide, 46'), Marcos, Hugo Carreira, Wesnalton; Juba, Pedro Simões (Miran. 60'), Jordão; Semedo, Júlio César, Sabry (Rogério, 66').

GOALS: 1-0 Gaúcho, 55' (pen.)


River Plate 3-0 Estudiantes LP

River Plate, with a first half to remember, gave no chance no Estudiantes, winning 3-0. El Matador, Marcelo Salas, returned to the pitches with a wonderful goal, after several injuries that kept him away from the team. Cavenaghi scored the other two goals, and the argentinian press already claims that he is the most efficient argentinian striker of the last years.

RIVER PLATE:Franco Costanzo, Ariel Garcé, Cristian Nasuti, Eduardo Tuzzio, Juan Fernández, Eduardo Coudet (Luis Gonzalez, 73'), Claudio Husain, Rubens Sambueza (Gabriel Pereyra, 73'), Daniel Montenegro, Fernando Cavenaghi, Marcelo Salas (Jose Sand, 59').

ESTUDIANTES LP: Juan Carlos Docabo, Marcos Angeleri, Diego Colotto, Néstor Fabbri, Juan Krupoviesa, Marcos Gelabert (Horacio Cardozo, 73'), Diego Castagno Suárez, Marcelo Carrusca, José Sosa (Javier Lux, 62'), Rafel Maceratesi (Mariano Pavone, 59'), Ernesto Farías.

GOALS: 1-0 Cavenaghi, 22'; 2-0 Salas, 32'; Cavenaghi, 88'.


Following Sporting

From now on the portuguese league will have another representant in FU. João Folque will follow all the steeps of The lisbon giants Sporting (also known as lions). Sporting it´s currently in the second position of the Portuguese League and still have hopes to get the title this season.


Gil Vicente1 - Bad Sporting 1- Just Talk is not enough

Sporting yesterday, played a bad game. The game, wich was considered by many as an easy one, showed an awful Sporting on the first half.
Rui Jorge was sent off cause received two Yellow cards and Tinga made an incredible penalty wich allowed the advantage of Gil Vicente on this first half.
On the second half, Sporting re entered the game playing a bit more and was able to get the equalizer by Carlos Martins. But then, With less one player on the field Sporting lost some steam and the true is that Gil Vicente almost reached a victory and the three points.
Just talk is not enough (Fernando Santos , the coach- in an interview during last week talked about Sporting being the best team on the Superliga...) and now the true is that the Superliga Tittle is lost, without appeal, to FC Porto.

The second place still secure because Benfica , lost their game Vs Nacional.


BEIRA-MAR 0 - 2 SC BRAGA (Derby United)

Braga managed to get a very important win agains Beira Mar last weekend. The team commanded by Jesualdo Ferreira is now in a good position to get a place in the Uefa Cup next year. Beira-Mar lost the derby but it´s still in the run to finish in the first 5 places of the portuguese league.

Beira-Mar: Marriot, Ribeiro, Zeman, Alcaraz, Areias, Malá, Sandro, Kata, Kingsley, Wijhnard, Rui Lima

Braga: Quim, Pedro Costa, Paulo Jorge, Maurício, Jorge Luíz, Soderström, Kenedy, Eder, Wooter, Wender, Pena

Goals: Wender (62), Igor (79)


PSG 2 - 0 Guingamp

Paris Saint-Germain FC remain in third place, a point behind Olympique Lyonnais, after stretching their unbeaten record to 13 games with a 2-0 win against struggling EA Guingamp at Parc des Princes, where Modeste Mbami and Danijel Ljuboja were on target.

PSG : Alonzo - Sorin, Déhu, Heinze, Mendy, Pierre-Fanfan - Fiorèse (Rocchi, 52e), Hugo Leal, M'Bami - Reinaldo (Pauleta, 67e), Ljuboja (Boskovic, 85e).

Guingamp : Le Crom - Yahia, Saveljic, Kouassi, Sikimic (Ferrier, 64e) - Colleau (Bourhani, 85e), Le Roux, Leroy, Michel - André (Gousse, 73e), Camara.

Goals: M'Bami (24e), Ljuboja (82e)



SC Heerenveen 3 - 2 PSV

PSV, who have played a match more, remain on 52 points after going down 3-2 to Heerenveen at home on Saturday. Theo Lucius opened the scoring for the visitors on the cusp of half-time but Mika Vayrynen equalised almost immediately to make it 1-1 at the break.

With 16 minutes remaining, Wilfred Bouma restored the advantage for PSV, who finished with ten men after Mark van Bommel’s late dismissal, but Heerenveen responded again, this time equalising through Richard Knopper. Peter Hansson sealed the triumph with a well-taken header three minutes from the whistle.

Goals: 45 Lucius (0-1), 45 Väyrynen(1-1), 74 Bouma (1-2), 77 Knopper (2-2), 87 Hansson (3-2)



Gaziantepspor 1-5 Fenerbahçe

Fenerbahçe SK defeated UEFA Cup hopefuls Gaziantepspor 5-1 to reap maximum reward from Besiktas JK’s scoreless draw with Malatyaspor and reduce the gap at the top of the Turkish Superleague to three points.

Turkish international defender Ümit Özat inspired the important victory, adding a second-half goal to the two he scored in the first for a memorable hat-trick. Márcio Nobre and Tuncay Sanli also weighed in, ensuring that Hasan Özer’s 90th-minute effort was in vain.

Goals: 7´, 27´, 64´(Umit Ozat), 51´Marcio Nobre, 88´Tuncay (0-5) , 90´Hasan (1-5)



Bayer Munchen 1 - 0 HSV

HSV began the match against the reigning Bundesliga champions in confident mood. After only a few seconds Takahara missed with the first half chance of the game. The League Cup winners from Hamburg dominated the proceedings without being able to capitalise on that domination. On five minutes, Bastian Schweinsteiger (playing for the injured Ballack) missed a good shooting opportunity. Towards the middle of the first half, the game began to liven up somewhat. Stephan Kling (playing for the flu-struck skipper Hoogma) tried a long distance shot after 22 munites.

HSV counter attacked at speed but the half chances by first Mahdavikia (61), and then 2 minutes later Barbarez, were wasted. Toppmöller brought on Romeo and Rahn in an effort to liven things up going forward. The duo were however unable to make an impression on the match. Just as the match seemed to be petering out into a goalless draw...Bayern struck. In the 87th minute, Schlicke lost a running battle with Santa Cruz, who pushed a pinpoint pass into the HSV penalty area. The substitute Demichelis found himself in the right place at the right time, and he beat Wächter with a close range shot to break the HSV hearts.

Another bad thing for HSV was the fifth yellow cards picked up by Wicky and Hollerbach. Both players will miss HSV's round 22 home game against Bayer Leverkusen on February 28th. So HSV still hasn't beaten Bayern away for 22 years, and on the flight home, the players will surely rue the missed opportunity of ending that dismal record in Munich this afternoon.

Bayern Munich: Rensing - Sagnol, Kuffour, R. Kovac, Lizarazu - Salihamidzic, Hargreaves, Schweinsteiger, Zé Roberto - Santa Cruz, Makaay

HSV: Wächter - Wicky, Schlicke, Reinhardt, Hollerbach - Mahdavikia, Beinlich, Jarolim, Kling - Barbarez - Takahara

Goals: 1:0 Demichelis (87)



Nacional 3 - 2 Benfica

CD Nacional offered further confirmation of their improvement this season with an impressive 3-2 defeat of SL Benfica in Sunday’s late game in the Portuguese SuperLiga.

Brazilian striker Adriano inspired the victory, scoring goals in both halves to help the fifth-placed Madeira side to a rare win against a team sitting two places above them. António Gouveïa slammed in the deciding goal after Simão Sabrosa and Nuno Gomes had put Benfica in contention.

NACIONAL: Hilário, Patacas, Ávalos, Fernando Cardozo, Rossato, Cléber, Paulo Assunção , Gouveia; Alexandre Goulart, Adriano , Serginho Baiano. Bench: Belman, Emerson, João Fidalgo, Diego, Serginho Cunha, Ivo ,Cleomir

BENFICA - Moreira; Miguel, Hélder, Luisão, Fyssas; Petit, Fernando Aguiar; Geovanni, Tiago, Simão; Nuno Gomes. Bench: Bossio, Armando, Argel, Alex, João Pereira, Ricardo Rocha, Manuel Fernandes

Goals: Adriano 10´(1-0); Simão 30´(1-1); Nunu Gomes 51´(1-2); Adriano 54´(2-2); Gouveia 56´(3-2)


Sunday, February 22, 2004 

AC Milan 3-2 Inter FC (FU DERBY MACTH)

Serie A leaders AC Milan fought back from two goals down to beat city rivals FC Internazionale 3-2 in a pulsating derby on Saturday, a stunning 85th-minute strike from Clarence Seedorf completing the comeback.

The result leaves Milan on 55 points, eight clear of second-placed AS Roma, who play AC Siena at home on Sunday. Third-placed Juventus FC, who have 46 points, are away to Bologna FC. Milan began impressively but it was Inter who struck the first blow with Dejan Stankovic scoring direct from a corner. Inter doubled their lead when another Stankovic corner was cleared only as far as Cristiano Zanetti, whose low drive from 25 metres deflected past Dida.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, who had begun with Andriy Shevchenko on his own in attack, brought on Jon Dahl Tomasson for midfielder Rui Costa at the break in a bid to provide more firepower. The Dane pounced from close range in the 56th minute and within 60 seconds Milan were level when Kaka drilled in a pinpoint shot from the edge of the area. Milan lost Cafu and then Alessandro Nesta to injury but still had the final say as Seedorf produced a goal out of nothing to keep Milan's title bid on track.

MILAN: Dida; Cafu (Pancaro, 70'), Nesta (Laursen, 74'), Costacurta, Kaladze; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf; Kakà, Rui Costa (Tomasson, 46'); Shevchenko

INTER:Toldo; Helveg, Adani, Cordoba; J. Zanetti, C. Zanetti, Farinos, Kily Gonzalez (Recoba, 88'); Stankovic (Karagounis, 70'); Vieri (Cruz, 75'), Adriano

GOALS: 0-1 Stankovic, 15'; 0-2 Zanetti, 40'; 1-2 Tomasson, 56'; 2-2 Kaká, 57'; 3-2 Seedorf, 85'


Friday, February 20, 2004 

Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Bayern Munich are 9 points back of the league leaders but will be looking to rekindle their quest for Bundesliga title when they host Hamburg.

With a difficult double-header coming up against Real Madrid in Champions League, Hitzfeld knows that he can't afford to lose no more ground in the Bundesliga or all could be lost this season.

But the big match in Germany sees Werder Bremen take on Schalke, look for a full preview of this match in the Bundesliga section of

Stuttgart are nine points back of the leaders and will hope to start reducing the gap by beating Kaiserslautern.

The only other team that is still realisticaly alive for the title win the title is fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who are 12 points behind Werder.

Else where on Saturday, Wolfsburg host 1860 Munich, while Hannover visit Hansa Rostock in mid-table clashes and Freiburg will play vistors to Borussia Monchengladbach.

There are just two games on Sunday and both will have an impact on the relegation zone as Hertha Berlin host Eintracht Frankfurt side in a match that is of huge importance for both teams.

Bottom club Cologne visit the Westfalenstadion to play a the disappointing Borussia Dortmund.


Thursday, February 19, 2004 

Latvia 3-1 Kazakhstan

Latvia had to come from behind to defeat Kazakhstan 3-1 in Larnaca as the Baltic nation took another step on their incredible journey to UEFA EURO 2004™.

Coach Aleksandrs Starkovs' starting lineup for this Cyprus international tournament tie showed just one change from the eleven that took the field for the momentous second-leg play-off against Turkey last November, with Marians Pahars replacing Vits Rimkus up front alongside Maris Verpakovskis.

Latvia started brightly with Jurijs Laizans sending a free-kick just wide early on. However, despite dominating possession, the Latvians found it hard to create chances for their new front pair.

After 24 minutes the Kazakhs then took a surprise lead. A cross into the Latvian box caught Aleksandrs Isakovs off guard, and midfield player Youri Aksenov beat Aleksandrs Kolinko from point-blank range. Imants Bleidelis almost equalised soon after, but Yuriy Novikov in the Kazakh goal made a brilliant save, tipping the ball over for a corner.

As the interval approached, Andrejs Rubins and Pahars created a good chance for captain Vitalis Astafjevs only for the captain to shoot wide from 16 metres. However, the move sparked a Latvian onslaught which saw them score twice in the final five minutes of the half.

First, Pahars latched on to a pass in the corner of the Kazakhstan penalty box and sent a brilliant left-footed shot curling over Novikov to make it 1-1. Laizans then gathered a pass 27 metres from goal and took one touch before sending a thundering drive into the net.

Latvia applied even more pressure after the break, with Bleidelis wasting a tremendous chance to increase the lead when one-on-one with Novikov. Rubins and Verpakovskis also failed to hit the target when well placed, but Laizans finally succeeded in finding his second goal, and his side's third, in the 66th minute when his free-kick found the net.



Albania 2-1 Sweden

Second-half goals from Ervin Skela and Ardian Aliaj earned Albania an impressive victory over Sweden in Tirana tonight as the home side battled back to cancel out Stefan Selakovic's opener for the UEFA EURO 2004™ hopefuls.

Aliaj curled in a free-kick on 75 minutes to cap a brave fightback by Albania and inflict a third straight friendly defeat on a Swedish side weakened by injuries and illness.

Despite their failure to reach EURO 2004™, the home side had impressed during qualifying, notably with their 3-1 win over Russia, and they were brimming with confidence again here. Edvin Murati, Alban Bushi and Klodian Duro in particular ensured Sweden's new-look defence, in which SC Heerenveen defender Petter Hansson was winning just his second cap two years after making his debut, were given little time to settle.

It was Sweden, however, who created the first real chance, and the Albania goalkeeper Fotaq Strakosha did well to beat out Kim Källström's close-range header on 19 minutes. Just as Sweden appeared to be assuming control, Albania came close on 27 minutes. Bushi's clever touch on the edge of the area put Atlin Rraklli through, but the striker hurried his shot which bounced across goal and then away to safety.

The game was beginning to open up and on 38 minutes Selakovic's shot was turned away by Strakosha who was soon back in the action early in the second half to block from Mikael Nilsson. Strakosha was beaten moments later, however, when he failed to hold Teddy Lucic's powerful shot, allowing Selakovic to turn in the rebound and put Sweden ahead on 49 minutes.

Igli Tare brought the home crowd back into the match on 56 minutes when he rose to flash a header narrowly wide, but soon after Sweden should have made sure of the victory. Johan Elmander's low shot was spilled by Strakosha and from the rebound Selakovic hit the post. The ball then fell to Källström who shot over from eight metres – a miss that would prove costly.

Andreas Isaksson kept Sweden's lead intact with an acrobatic save from Skela on 64 minutes, but the midfield player was not to be denied three minutes later when he connected with Florian Myrtaj's cross from the right. And the game was turned on its head seven minutes later when Aliaj curled a free-kick four metres outside the area over the Sweden wall and in.

Sweden's resistance crumbled and the home side should have won by more, Tare missing a golden chance in the closing stages before Isaksson dived to save a penalty from Skela in added time.



Italy 2-2 Czech Republic

Tomáš Rosický's 88th-minute equaliser extended the Czech Republic's unbeaten run to 20 games in Palermo only three minutes after Antonio Di Natale seemed to have won the game for the home side.

The visitors were without Petr Cech, Tomáš Ujfaluši, Milan Baroš and Vladimír Šmicer, but started in lively fashion and the effervescent midfield trio of Rosický, Pavel Nedved and Karel Poborský immediately put Giovanni Trapattoni's new-look defence under pressure.

In the seventh minute, Nedved was only denied by Juventus FC team-mate Gianluigi Buffon, and soon after Poborský collected a perfectly-weighted through-ball from Rosický only for his effort to be cleared off the line.

Poborský, in fact, was a constant threat throughout the opening phase and gave 32-year-old debutant Stefano Bettarini a torrid time in defence. But Italy survived and gradually started to carve out some chances of their own.

Del Piero had already threatened Jaromír Blazek in the Czech goal when Italy took the lead in the 14th minute as he raced clear on the left and his deflected cross was headed on to the post by Christian Vieri. Alessandro Del Piero hit the post again with the follow-up and finally Vieri converted with Blazek stranded.

Despite that blow the Czechs continued to create chances. Marek Jankulovski shot wide from 25 metres while Jan Koller also went close. Their pressure led to further chances for Nedved and Rosický before the equaliser finally arrived in the 42nd minute. Poborský swung in a free-kick and Sparta forward Jirí Štajner rose to head in from close range.

Trapattoni made seven changes at half-time, only Bettarini, Simone Perrotta, Stefano Fiore and Del Piero - captain for the day in the absence of Fabio Cannavaro - surviving the cull. Czech coach Karel Brückner, meanwhile, made six alterations to his starting formation and the intensity of the game dropped at the start of the second half as the teams struggled to settle in.

There were chances at both ends, however, as Marco Delvecchio nearly connected with a Massimo Oddo cross while, at the other end, Vratislav Lokvenc steered his header goalbound, but without troubling substitute Francesco Toldo in the Italian goal.

Marek Heinz then twice tested Toldo with low shots but the FC Internazionale goalkeeper was equal to the challenge and saved smartly on both occasions. Italy responded with Bernardo Corradi finding Delvecchio in the area with a cushioned header but Antonín Kinský, on for Blazek, collected the ball.

The game seemed to be heading for a 1-1 draw until the recalled Di Natale headed in Carlo Nervo's cross. But the Czechs are out of the habit of losing, and Rosický's beautiful curling effort gave Toldo no chance and reinforced the impression that Brückner's team will be a real threat this summer.



Turkey 0-1 Denmark

Denmark recorded a morale-boosting win against FIFA World Cup semi-finalists Turkey as their preparation for UEFA EURO 2004™ went from strength to strength.

Martin Jørgensen scored the only goal of the game and it was no more than his team deserved. Following the 3-2 friendly defeat of England in November, Danish coach Morten Olsen continued with his favoured attacking formation in Adana.

Turkey had the first decent attempt on goal, Hamit Altintop clipping the outside of the post with a 20-metre free-kick, but Denmark responded immediately with Jon Dahl Tomasson blazing over the bar when well placed.

Denmark were unlucky not to take the lead in the tenth minute when Martin Laursen's powerful header from a corner was cleared off the line by Hamit. Jesper Grønkjær was a constant threat down the right wing, whipping in a succession of accurate crosses that Tomasson might have made better use of on two occasions. Grønkjær also proved to be Denmark's saviour in his own penalty area, making a last-ditch tackle to deny Hamit.

The Danes converted their pressure in the 32nd minute when Jørgensen connected with Thomas Helveg's cross and beat Turkish goalkeeper Rüstu Reçber on his near post with a sweetly struck volley.

Turkey's best efforts came from swift counterattacks, Nihat Kahveci shaving the post with one raking shot, but the home side were unable to pose a consistent threat to the well ordered Danish defence.

Turkey started the second half looking a more potent side and twice troubled Denmark early on. First substitute Selçuk Sahin forced a good save from Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen and then Fatih Sonkaya had a shot well blocked by Helveg when he looked set to score.

Denmark's Daniel Jensen, who had looked threatening from midfield all match, shot well over the bar after some fine build up play. And Peter Madsen made an immediate impression after coming off the bench, firing in a cross that Kenneth Perez scuffed wide.

But as the second half wore on both sides looked increasingly scrappy, and Turkey’s Serkan Balci was booked for a foul on Madsen as the home side grew more frustrated. Striker Tuncay Sanli caused some alarm with a fine piece of control on the edge of the penalty area, but hooked his shot over. Tuncay then went even closer when his fierce shot crashed against the post.

Zafer Biryol could have snatched a draw for Turkey in the dying minutes, but sliced his shot into the side netting from six metres after being sent clear. Turkey continued to pile on the pressure but the Danish defence somehow remained firm.



Morocco 2-1 Switzerland

UEFA EURO 2004™ finalists Switzerland suffered defeat at the hands of the African Cup of Nations finalists at the Moulay Abdellah stadium in Rabat.

The match was nearly cancelled after Morocco asked to field a reserve side having played in Saturday's Cup of Nations final where they lost to Tunisia. Two goals in the space of three second-half minutes, however, from Ahmed Ajdou and Houcine Aiajour, paved the way for victory, with Alexander Frei scoring a consolation goal in the final minute.

Having guided his side to a first major international tournament since EURO '96™, Jakob Kuhn was keen for his team to face a meaningful test. The Switzerland coach made only one change from the side that defeated the Republic of Ireland to clinch a place in Portugal, with Stéphane Henchoz returning to the side at centre-back in place of Murat Yakin.

Morocco started brightly and went close to opening the scoring on three occasions in the first five minutes after the midfield players combined for a series of dangerous crosses. Frei first threatened for the visitors in the 12th minute, but they enjoyed few opportunities during the first half.

Kuhn bolstered his midfield at the break, bringing on Ricardo Cabanas for Benjamin Huggel. The switch paid dividends as his team proved harder to break down in the centre and opened up more attacking channels. Frei almost took advantage of the increased possession seven minutes after the restart, meeting Stéphane Chapuisat's cross with a spectacular overhead kick that goalkeeper Lamyaghi Nadir had to be at his best to save.

The effort galvanised the Swiss team, and Frei and Hakan Yakin exchanged passes in the 65th minute before the ball was played into the stride of Chapuisat as he raced into the box. The striker had time and space to pick his spot but failed to connect cleanly and the ball flew wide.

The miss proved costly as Ajdou received the ball with his back to goal in the 78th minute and turned wonderfully to guide a left-foot shot beyond the grasp of goalkeeper Jörg Stiel. Three minutes later Aiajour kept his composure to knock in from close range for the second following a goalmouth scramble.

Although Frei halved the arrears from distance late on, Switzerland were unable to find a second and Kuhn's charges will need to improve in the summer, where they are pooled in Group B alongside holders France, Croatia and England.



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