Monday, January 31, 2005 

Shevchenko down but not out

AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko faces a lay-off of around two weeks after injuring his right shin during Sunday's 1-0 home defeat by Bologna FC.

No serious damage
The European Footballer of the Year underwent a scan which ruled out the possibility of any serious damage to the fibula. However, he suffered heavy bruising and Shevchenko will be sidelined for a fortnight or more.

World Cup blow
The 28-year-old, who has scored 13 goals in 19 Serie A games, is therefore likely to miss league matches against FC Messina Peloro, S.S. Lazio and Reggina Calcio. In addition, he will be unavailable for Ukraine's FIFA World Cup Group 2 qualifier away to Albania on 9 February.



Bellamy accepts Celtic challenge

Welsh international striker Craig Bellamy has joined Scottish champions Celtic FC on loan from Newcastle United FC for the rest of the season.

Souness split
The 25-year-old recently had a much publicised falling-out with Newcastle manager Graeme Souness, and was told he could leave the UEFA Cup contenders after three-and-a-half years with the club.

Camara replacement
Newcastle accepted an €8.7m bid from Birmingham City FC for the player, but over the weekend Bellamy decided against the move. Celtic, meanwhile, allowed on-loan Senegalese international Henri Camara to move to Southampton FC earlier today, and have now replaced him with a striker who has scored 28 goals in 93 Premiership games for Newcastle.



Nelsinho joins Estrela

Estrela da Amadora have signed midfielder Nelsinho, from Braga, on loan untill the end of the season.


Olhanense 1-0 Estrela da Amadora

OLHANENSE: Bruno Veríssimo; Jorge Vidigal, Paulo Sérgio, Lameirão, Branquinho; Alexandre, Sérgio Marquês, Vasco Matos, Ricardo Silva (Glaedson, 84'); Filipe Azevedo (Edu, 79'), Toy (Anselmo, 88').

EST. AMADORA: Veiga; Quim Berto, Carlos, Hugo Carreira, Hugo Luz (Fábio Hempel, 29'); Adilson, Zamorano, Soderstrom; Henrique, Rómulo (Davide, 57'), Semedo (Hugo Machado, 71').

GOALS: 1-0, Filipe Azevedo (21')


Milan 0-1 Bologna

Despite dominating Bologna at the San Siro, Milan went down 1-0 for their second consecutive defeat to leave them eight points behind Juventus at the top of the table.

Paolo Maldini returned to the centre of defence in place of the suspended Alessandro Nesta while Serginho came in at left-back, but with a license to push forward at every occasion. An early cross from the Brazilian was headed wide by the diving Andriy Shevchenko. The Ukrainian then just failed to make a clean connection with a through-ball from Vikash Dhorasoo as Milan dominated possession. Dhorasoo thought he had given the Rossoneri the lead when he hit a stunning volley from 25 metres, but the referee indicated that the Frenchman had pushed Thomas Locatelli in the build-up. Bologna had come to play on the counter-attack and on 27 minutes they broke quickly from midfield as Locatelli combined with Theodoros Zagorakis, whose neat back-heel on the edge of the area allowed the midfielder to fire home a low shot. It was the Rossoblu’s first chance of the game and there was more bad news for Milan when Shevchenko limped off after connecting with Alessandro Gamberini’s foot as the pair challenged for a dropping ball. The incident happened inside the area and the referee awarded an indirect free-kick, which Serginho sent over the bar. Sheva was unfit to continue so Jon Dahl Tomasson came on to join Hernan Crespo in attack and the Dane came close with a glancing header.

The Rossoneri continued to lay siege to the visitor’s goal in the second half, Crespo turned on the ground but fired straight at goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca, while Marcos Cafu saw a shot deflected across the face of the goal. Coach Carlo Ancelotti sent on Massimo Ambrosini for Rino Gattuso on 62 minutes and the substitute almost grabbed the equaliser, but his header from a Andrea Pirlo free-kick was cleared off the line by Zagorakis. In the dying moments, with every Milan player encamped in the Bologna half, Tomasson almost reached a loose ball in the area, but the danger was cleared.

MILAN: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Maldini, Serginho; Gattuso (Ambrosini, 62'), Pirlo, Dhorasoo; Kaka (Rui Costa, 70'); Shevchenko (Tomasson, 42'), Crespo.

BOLOGNA: Pagliuca; Juarez, Gamberini, Torrisi, Nastase; Zagorakis, Colucci, Amoroso (Giunti, 77'), Sussi; Locatelli (Loviso, 90'), Bellucci (Ferrante, 93').

GOAL: 0-1, Locatelli (27')



Valencia 2-2 Athletic

VALENCIA: Cañizares; Caneira, Marchena, Ayala (Angulo, 83'), Moretti; Fiore, Albelda, Baraja, Fabio Aurelio (Mista, 46'); Aimar; Di Vaio.

ATHLETIC: Aranzubia; Casas, Luis Prieto, Gurpegui, Del Horno; Etxeberría (Guerrero, 90'), Orbaiz, Iraola (Solabarrieta, 87'), Tiko; Javi González, Ezkerro (Llorente, 81').

GOALS: 0-1, Iraola (31', pen); 0-2, Ezkerro (59'); 1-2, Mista (73'); 2-2, Di Vaio (81')


Kilmarnock 0-1 Celtic

Celtic FC went back to the top of the Scottish Premier League thanks to a 1-0 victory against Kilmarnock FC at Rugby Park on Sunday, usurping Rangers FC, who defeated Livingston FC 3-0 at Ibrox 24 hours earlier.

Penalty breaks deadlock

Celtic dominated the opening period but needed a Chris Sutton spot-kick seven minutes before half-time to break the deadlock after Danny Invincible had handled the ball in his own penalty area. The win moves the Parkhead club on to 62 points.



Vasco da Gama 1-1 Botafogo

VASCO: Éverton; Thiago Maciel, Fabiano, Marcos, Diego; Gomes, Coutinho, Júnior (Robson Luis), Leozinho (Rubens); Alex Dias, Romário (Marco Brito)

BOTAFOGO: Jefferson; César Prates, Scheidt, Rafael Marques, Marquinhos; Túlio, Juca, Ramon (Almir), Caio; Leandro Carvalho; Alex Alves

GOALS: 0-1, Alex Alves (16'); 1-1 Alex Dias (77')


Amoreirinha loaned to Estoril

Defender Euripides Amoreirinha will play no further part in SL Benfica's UEFA Cup campaign after agreeing to spend the rest of the season on loan at another Portuguese club, GD Estoril-Praia.

Fringe player
The Portuguese Under-21 international joined the Eagles from second division FC Alverca in the summer but was only a fringe player under Giovanni Trapattoni, with four of his eight SuperLiga appearances coming as a substitute. The 20-year-old Amoreirinha also played three times in the UEFA Cup but will be at Estoril when Benfica face PFC CSKA Moskva in the last 32 next month.



Hamburguer SV 2 - 1 Mainz

HSV returned to winning ways in front of 44,730 in the AOL Arena on Saturday afternoon, by way of a 2-1 win over Mainz in round 19. Sergej Barbarez put the home side ahead on 30 minutes, only to see the young German international striker Benjamin Auer equalise 9 minutes later. The story of the day however was the kind of which dreams are made of. Thomas Doll brought on Benny Lauth who had been out for an age through injury. The young striker once again won the day by scoring what turned out to be the winning goal only five minutes after coming on.

Dolly rings the changes
The HSV coach Doll made four changes to the side which lost so disappointingly in Bayern (0-3) in round 18 Schlicke came in for for Brecko, Beinlich replaced the injured Trochowski and Moreira played instead of Jarolim who was serving a one match suspension after picking up a fifth yellow card against Bayern. Finally, Mehdi Mahdavikia was preferred instead of Takahara.

HSV make the better start
HSV made the first 20 minutes their as they pushed the visitors back into their own half. Barbarez and Mpenza however, failed to make the most of the pick pf the early chances. The pressure being applied by Thomas Doll’s side was so great that it seemed only a matter of time until they would take the lead.

Mainz improve
After soaking up the early pressure, Mainz started to make a game of it, and went close with a Babatz free kick and a fine shot by da Silva, both of which had the HSV keeper Pieckenhagen stretching.

Sergej on the mark
On 32 minutes HSV at last took what was a deserved lead, as Mpenza latched onto a long ball by Moreira. The Belgian goal-getter laid the ball up for Barbarez on the edge of the Mainz area, Barbarez let fly with a left foot shot which was wickedly deflected up and over the Mainz keeper Wache before nestling in the back of the net.

Mainz draw level
HSV failed to take advantage of their obvious superiority and were punished by the visitors on 39 minutes. The whole HSV defence awaited a powerfully struck free kick by Babatz, but instead, da Silva crossed a long ball to the far post where Auer headed in unchallenged by the surprised Reinhardt to make the score 1-1 which is how things stood at half time.

Pressure but no goals
Doll’s side also started the second half the better of the two teams, although goalmouth action had become a rare commodity A Barbarez header following a Beinlich free kick remained the only half chance created by either side for a long time.

Meeeeehdi shows his class
On 72 minutes the home crowd was gasping again, as Mehdi Mahdavikia danced down the right wing leaving the whole Mainz defence in his wake, before putting a pinpoint cross onto the head of Mpenza in the box, the Belgian however, underlined his current lack of form by missing, as it looked easier to score.

Benny on cloud nine!
That chance signalled the start of a late barrage of HSV pressure. On 75 minutes, Thomas Doll brought on Benny Lauth for Reinhardt. It took the talented striker only five minutes to thank his coach for his trust, as Takahara set him up on the edge of the Mainz area. The young striker who has been sidelined for five months after breaking a bone in his foot, blasted in a fierce shot which had the Mainz keeper wrong footed before flying into the net for what turned out to be the winning goal.

Late flurry
HSV was able to sit back on their slender lead and let the visitors come at them, and they did. Teinert saw his long distance deflected shot go agonisingly wide on 82 minutes. Seconds later, Kramny missed a good chance following a corner. So HSV ran out the deserved winners and remain in sight of the lucrative European football places for next season, whereas Mainz must now look over their shoulder, just two places above the relegation zone.

Mainz: Wache - Noveski, Balitsch (59.N.Weiland), Auer, Gerber (71.Krammy), Friedrich, Teinert, Rose, Babatz, da Silva (77.D.Weiland), Abel

HSV: Pieckenhagen - Schlicke (63.Benjamin), Reinhardt (74.Lauth), van Buyten, Klingbeil - Wicky, Mahdavikia, Moreira (46.Takahara), Beinlich - Barbarez, Mpenza

Goals: 1:0 Barbarez (30.), 1:1 Auer (39.), 2:1 Lauth (78.)



Anelka signs for Fenerbahçe

An agreement has been reached with French international forward Nicolas Anelka, following a deal with his club Manchester City. The France international is a Fenerbahçe player for three and-a-half season plus an option of an extra year.
The contract result is as the way our club wished, in fitting with our requests and principles.

Anelka will arrive in Istanbul in the late hours of the evening.

Meanwhile, due to the rules limiting the number of foreign players, Fabiano Lima Rodriguez`s contract will be terminated with mutual consent.



Fenerbahçe 2-0 Ç.Rizespor

Fenerbahçe carries on from where it left off as we beat Çaykur Rizespor 2-0 in the first game of the second half of the league. Alex de Souza scored the first goal with a penalty, followed by Servet Çetin`s header in the 59th minute in typical Fenerbahçe style.
Christoph Daum played the same starting 11 as he did for the Turkish Cup game against Ankaragücü last weekend. Fabio Luciano played in the centre of the defence despite missing a lot of the week`s training sessions as he was in Brazil. Önder Turacı played a steady game at right back as did Ümit Özat on the left. Servet topped his good game with a goal in a set-piece.

Serhat Akın was showing a higher performance than before, getting involved and keeping possession more in comparison to the first half of the league. His cross was deflected high for Alex, who attempted an overhead kick but couldn`t get a result in the 8th minute. It was Serhat`s burst into the box that led to a penalty in the 18th minute, took by Alex and scored him despite a hand from Zdravo Zdravkov.

Ten minutes into the second half our lead was doubled which also made our proceeding performance a lot more enjoyable. Alex`s ball into the box from the right wing was met by Servet who made no mistake, 2-0.

Our tempo was on the rise from here also thanks to fresh blood through Serkan Balcı.

Marcio Nobre was very close to adding a goal to his energetic contribution, after rounding Zdravkov and having an empty goal to score in, but a narrowing angle made his shot less accurate as it went over the bar.

Rüştü`s good save got himself noticed in the game and his opposite number Zdravkov kept it at 2-0 by saving a good Alex free-kick.

Fenerbahçe: Rüştü Reçber, Fabio Luciano, Servet Çetin, Önder Turacı, Ümit Özat, Selçuk Şahin, Marco Aurelio, Serhat Akın, Tuncay Şanlı, Alex de Souza, Marcio Nobre

Çaykur Rizespor: Zdravkov, Fahri Tatan, Koray Avcı, Zafer Demiray, Okan Öztürk, Serkan Özdemir, Bashir El Tabei, Cem Baki, Kürşat Duymuş, Ünal Alpbuğan, Ahmet Çağıran

Goals: 19` Alex de Souza (p), 54` Servet Çetin (Fenerbahçe)

Source: Fenerbahç


Olympiacos 2 - 1 Aris Thessaloniki

Olympiacos CFP edged to the top of the Ethniki Kategoria table with a 2-1 home victory against Aris Thessaloniki FC, after rivals AEK Athens FC and Panathinaikos FC both slipped up.

Early lead
Olympiakos took the lead in the third minute thanks to a close-range header by Ioannis Okkas. Two minutes later, Aris equalised with a spectacular volley by Agapitos Abelas but Giorgos Georgiadis scored the winner on the hour mark with a powerful shot from close range.



Moreirense 1 - 2 Benfica

SL Benfica returned to winning ways in the SuperLiga by defeating Moreirense FC 2-1. Nuno Gomes scored after nine minutes and Nuno Assis added a second on 37 minutes. Afonso Martins reduced the arrears in the 75th minute but an equaliser could not be found.

MOREIRENSE – João Ricardo; Primo, Ricardo Fernandes, Sérgio Lomba e Tito; Filipe Anunciação (59’, Eriverton), Luís Vouzela, Lito e Vítor Pereira (45’, Afonso Martins); Manoel e Nei (45’, Armando)

BENFICA – Quim; João Pereira, Alcides, Luisão e Fyssas; Manuel Fernandes, Bruno Aguiar, Simão Sabrosa e Geovanni (71’, Carlitos); Nuno Assis (88’, Mantorras) e Nuno Gomes

Goals: Nuno Gomes (8’), Nuno Assis (36’) e Armando (74’)



PSV sign Robert

PSV have strengthened their squad by signing the Brazilian striker Robert de Pinho de Souza.

The twenty-three-year old forward, whose football name is 'Robert', made a move from the Mexican club Atlas. He was chosen as Football Player of the Year in the Mexican league. He made 22 appearances, in which he scored 16 goals. Robert was born in Salvador and will join his fellow countrymen Gomes, Alex and Leandro.

Robert has regularly been called up for national duty. He was capped twelve times for the national team Under 20 and he made five appearances in the Olympic team. He will wear number 29 at the back of his PSV shirt. Robert has spells with the Brazilian clubs Coritiba and São Caetano, with Spartak Moscow in Russia and, until quite recently, Atlas in Mexico.



RKC Waalwijk 1 - 4 PSV

PSV stay on top of the Holland Casino Eredivisie, following an efficient 1-4 win over RKC Waalwijk. Man-of-the-match was undoubtedly Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, who netted three of the four goals. PSV captain Mark van Bommel was also a prominent
player: he gave three assists.

Vennegoor of Hesselink has been a prolific top scorer since the restart after the mid-winter break by scoring six goals. He scored a double against NAC; he found the net once in the Cup tie against FC Volendam last Wednesday and he was successful on as many as three occasions today. It may not have been the greatest of games, but PSV are still on course with yet another win. After the winter break PSV have scored four goals in every game, so that they have netted twelve goals so far. PSV keeper Gomes conceded only one goal and these statistics speak for themselves.

RKC were on top on twenty minutes, when Rick Hoogendorp scored the opening goal. PSV gave the RKC forwards too much space and produced quite a few inaccurate passes. The pace of the game was low and Hoogendorp was granted much time to fire home1-0. The visitors got back into the game at the half hour mark; DaMarcus Beasley cancelled out Hoogendorp’s opener on 35 minutes, when he made use of the space he got. Three minutes later PSV took the lead, when Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink scored his first goal of the afternoon; 1-2.

PSV increased their advantage after the break. Latest signing Robert, who watched the game from the grandstand, saw 'VOH' score another goal. Van Bommel delivered a fine centre on 69 minutes, Beasley slightly touched the ball and Vennegoor of Hesselink cleverly rounded off this flowing move; 1-3. He took his season’s tally to twelve goals by heading home a free kick; 1-4.

So PSV coasted to a comfortable win in Waalwijk after a rather tentative start. Vennegoor of Hesselink proved once again that he is in great shape and his desire to score goals seems to be insatiable. His drive has only been enhanced by the signing of Roberts, or so it looks like.

Young-Pyo Lee was dropped from the side, as he was troubled by a high temperature. The South Korean was the only PSV player that made an appearance in all fixtures this season.

Now that PSV have done this afternoon's job in a business-like way, the league encounter against RBC Roosendaal in the Eindhoven Philips Stadium on Wednesday night will be uppermost in their minds.

Goals: 20´ Hoogendorp (1-0); 35´ Beasley (1-1), 38´, 69´, 82´Vennegoor of Hesselink (1-4);


Sunday, January 30, 2005 

Chelsea 2 - Birmingham City 0 (FA Cup)

Chelsea defenders have not lacked praise for their work at the back this season but in a difficult all-Premiership FA Cup tie at the Bridge, it was their goalscoring exploits that won the day.

Robert Huth scored the first in his first Chelsea start of the season, the goal coming early in what was a comfortable opening 45 minutes for José Mourinho’s side. But when the visitors from the Midlands stepped up their performance after the break, Chelsea failed to put the game to bed until captain John Terry produced the goods ten minutes from time. Then the battle was over.

A less fluid performance than Stamford Bridge has grown accustomed to was perhaps understandable. As promised, José Mourinho chose to rest a few of his regulars with a busy programme ahead - Gallas, Ferreira and Makelele notably absent with Lampard and Robben on the bench.

It made room for Jiri Jarosik to make his first Chelsea start and as against Scunthorpe, Cudicini, Johnson and Kezman were all selected. In all there were eight changes from the Old Trafford side and with unfamiliarity all over the pitch, a calculated risk was being taken against top division opposition. As against Scunthorpe again, it was a plan that paid off.

Birmingham arrived with a depleted squad and found themselves in need of a new captain after Kenny Cunningham failed to recover from injury in time. The armband was handed to Mario Melchiot on his first return to the Bridge after his summer move.

The new-look Chelsea started well. An early Cole cross after Gudjohnsen had opened Birmingham up fell just behind Kezman and on four minutes, a Kezman flick sent Duff through, Taylor pulling off a finger-tip save to keep the shot out.

The corner that followed was cleared behind but a second attempt, taken by Duff saw Huth left all alone. Rising high, he thumped in a header which Maik Taylor got a hand to but found the power far too great. The young international had put his team ahead after just five minutes.

Birmingham were a tall team but they were not defending like one. On several further occasions, high balls into the box had them floundering and it took a desperate block by Martin Taylor to keep Huth from scoring a second.

The injury-hit visitors suffered a further blow when centre-back Taylor was forced to leave the field with just 25 minutes gone, an existing head wound re-opening. Tebily was the replacement with Melchiot moving into the centre.

Just past the half-hour, an exquisite link-up between Jarosik and Cole carved Birmingham open but Duff, with a clean sight of the target, uncharacteristically snatched at his shot which was blocked as it was heading well wide.

A fallow ten minutes followed, Chelsea content to keep possession until Wayne Bridge took a grip on proceedings, surging forward and sending Duff away. Swerving one way, then the other, this time his strike was true but Tebily was fortuitously placed to turn it behind.

The corner was taken by Duff again; Terry challenged and the ball fell to Huth at the far-post. His volley was miss-hit into the ground, bouncing up onto the bar with Birmingham players placed on the line. It was the last action of a half that had seen Steve Bruce’s side offer very little in the way of a threat, failing to win a single corner.

Arjen Robben was introduced after the interval, he and Duff sharing a half each but unlike the first 45 minutes, the side the Dutchman joined was forced to sweat for victory.

It took Cudicini to be at his sharpest to stop Birmingham just seven minutes in. Julian Gray who produced an influential second-half dsiplay, beat Glen Johnson in the tackle and crossed too high for Heskey but when Anderton picked up the pieces, he hit an arrow of a shot which the Chelsea keeper tipped over at his near-post.

Terry then chested away another Anderton drive and when Birmingham broke down the Chelsea right, an area that was proving vulnerable, Blake drilled a shot worryingly close to the target.

Jarosik had enjoyed a tidy first-half but with Chelsea looking increasingly stretched in midfield, the answer was to send for Frank Lampard – the midfield main-man coming on for Kezman with Cole pushed into the forward three.

A lightning Chelsea break just before that switch saw Kezman latch onto Johnson’s long ball, his square pass worked on to Robben by Gudjohnsen but the eventual shot flew over. Gudjohnsen was replaced on 65 minutes by Drogba.

There was an escape soon after following the rarest of all mistakes, a soft Terry back-header. It gave Blake a sniff of goal but Cudicini stretched and caught the attempted lob.

The two most recent substitutes almost made the difference on 69 minutes, Lampard turning Drogba’s pass on target and Taylor pulling off a fine save to keep his team in the tie.

With time running out, Birmingham freshened up their forward line – Morrison, then Yorke replacing Heskey and Anderton. At the same time Chelsea were forced into a switch of our own. In an important block tackle some minutes earlier, Huth had injured his knee but struggled on with restricted mobility. With all subs used it was decided to move him into midfield with Jarosik dropping back.

The game was still on an edge as the final ten minutes approached but not for the first time and surely not for the last, John Terry answered his team’s call at a crucial time.

Remaining up field after a free-kick had been cleared, the Chelsea captain was found by Lampard’s diagonal ball and with the perfect header, he planted the ball across Taylor and into the net.

With a two-goal margin at last, Huth was called off as Chelsea ended the game with ten men. The big defender’s afternoon did not end as happily as it had begun.

Birmingham’s resistance was not totally broken, Clapham a whisker away with a curling free-kick that Cudicini was struggling to reach. There was time for one more attack from the away side, Terry symbolically the man in the way once again.

His goal was an impressive seventh for the season, Robert Huth’s was the second of his career. It had been quite a struggle second-half but between them, the big two at the back had put their club into the FA Cup fifth round for the eighth time in the last ten years. The fight stays alive on all four fronts.



Henchoz handed Celtic chance

Swiss international defender Stéphane Henchoz has left UEFA Champions League contenders Liverpool FC to join Scottish champions Celtic FC for the rest of the season.

Cup treble
The 30-year-old, who has won 70 caps for his country and appeared against Croatia and France at UEFA EURO 2004™, joined Liverpool from Blackburn Rovers FC for just over €5m in summer 1999. He went on to become an integral part of Gérard Houllier's side, helping Liverpool win the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and English League Cup in 2001 and making 135 league appearances over six seasons.

Three appearances
However, although he also helped his side to another League Cup success in 2003, Henchoz has fallen out of favour under new manager Rafael Benítez, and has only appeared for the first team three times in the current campaign, all in the League Cup. His contract with the English Premiership side was due to expire at the end of the current campaign.



Freiburg 1-0 Wolfsburg

The Wolves lost their sixth consecutive match away from home on Saturday afternoon, as they lost at bottom-placed club Freiburg in round 19. The good news among the bad for the Wolves is that two of the teams immediately in the Bundesliga table VfB Stuttgart and Schalke; both lost as well. A 57th minute headed goal by fit-again Bajramovic did the damage, taking Freiburg up to second bottom,and dropping the Wolves to 6th place in the table. Erik Gerets’ side could drop to 8th, should Hertha and Werder Bremen win tomorrow…

Forced changes
Wolfsburg’s Coach Erik Gerets was forced to make changes to the side which lost 1-2 at home to Dortmund last time out. Thomas Rytter was ruled out with a knee injury, and D’Alessandro and Klimowicz both missed out with groin problems. Gerets chose Sarpei for his defence and Brdaric up front again after shaking off a bout of the flu. The Belgian coach raised a few eyebrows by picking the amateur midfielder Makiadi fort he clash in the Black Forest.

First chance to Wolfsburg
The home side started brightly enough without however troubling the Wolves goal during the opening exchanges. On 6 minutes, it was the visiting side that had the first chance of the match as Martin Petrov set up Thomas Brdaric in the Freiburg box, only to shoot well wide. After that, the game more or less stagnated in midfield. It took until the 19th minute for the home side to make a mark on the game as Ibertsberger crossed to the –unmarked Bajramovic, who had a free header which Simon Jentzsch did well to tip over the crossbar.

Brdaric close again…
The game livened up again just before half time, and Freiburg can thank their lucky stars that they didn’t fall behind as Khizaneishvili headed a cross onto the body of a team mate, the ball came to Brdarc who hammered the ball onto the crossbar on 38 minutes. Seconds later, Freiburg almost got their noses in front on 41 minutes as Bajramovic back-heeled the ball to Coulibaly. The Mali international striker found his match in Simon Jentzsch. The last chance of the half fell to Topic who headed over while unmarked on the stroke of half time.

Freiburg score the winning goal
The Freiburg keeper Richard Golz needed all of his almost 2 metre frame as he foiled Petrov who had stolen into the Freiburg box from the left on 53 minutes. Only four minutes later, the Wolves went behind as Tsikitishvili took a corner on the right. Bajramovic rose to power in a bullet-like header leaving Jentzsch no chance whatsoever.

Late flurry
The longer the game progressed, the more the Wolves became, without it has to be said any luck in front of goal. On 78 minutes the Wolves debutant Makiadi popped up in front of the Freiburg goal, only to see Golz spread himself well and even save the follow up shot by Thiam.

Hofland off
Seven minutes from time Kevin Hofland added insult to injury by getting himself sent off for a second yellow card offence. After that, Petrov went close but was foiled by Freiburg’s man of the match Golz once again.

Black Forest delight…
For Freiburg, it was only the 3rd win of the current campaign, and it allowed them to change places with Hansa Rostock, at least until tomorrow…For the Wolves it was the 6th consecutive away defeat. Next weekend, the Wolves entertain the double winners Werder Bremen. The importance of that match was underlined during the unnecessary defeat in Freiburg in round 19. Erik Gerets has a lot of work to do this week…

Freiburg: Golz - Riether, Khizaneishvili, Mohamad, Ibertsberger - Tskitishvili - Bajramovic, Kruppke - Cairo, Coulibaly, Iashvili

VfL Wolfsburg: Jentzsch - Sarpei, Quiroga, Hofland, Weiser - Thiam, Karhan - Makiadi - M. Petrov - Brdaric, Topic

Goals: 1:0 Bajramovic (57.)


Thursday, January 27, 2005 

PSV 4 - 0 Volendam (Amstel Cup)

PSV have comfortably progressed to the Amstel Cup quarter finals by cruising to an emphatic 4-0 win over FC Volendam. The team of coach Guus Hiddink outclassed First Division side FC Volendam, who bowed to the inevitable 4-0 defeat in the Eindhoven Philips Stadium. PSV did not display a sparkling performance, but the crowd saw four goals on a fine evening.
Cup games may often produce shock results, but tonight the outcome was quite predictable. PSV tried to find an opening for half an hour before they broke the deadlock. When they doubled the advantage on the stroke of half time, the game was actually over before it had started. PSV quickly added two more goals after the restart, after which Hiddink took off a few players, just to be sure. So PSV cruised to their second home defeat in four days and since the start to the second period of the season they have scored eight goals and conceded none.

The opener was scored on 35 minutes. DaMarcus Beasley took a corner and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink rose high above his marker and his glancing header struck home at the near post; 1-0. PSV had hardly been dangerous, although Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink hit the post on seven minutes. Beasley got a golden opportunity to get his name on the score sheet, but he dragged his shot wide of the goal, defended by Volendam keeper Frank van der Geest.

Ji-Sung Park made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time. PSV started a flowing move and Beasley delivered a sharp cross from the left wing; the Korean dived forwards and tapped the ball into the net. The visitors had bravely started some moves in the initial stages, but then PSV took over and controlled the game. They did not have to work hard to get a fair result.

When the second half was kicked off, Guus Hiddink had brought on two substitutes. Phillip Cocu and DaMarcus Beasley were replaced by John de Jong and Jefferson Farfán, who made a return after he had been troubled by chicken pox.

The Eindhoven team netted their third goal of the night within three minutes. Park produced a cross from the right; when Vennegoor of Hesselink attempted to fire on target, Volendam captain Peter Wijker pushed him in the back. The referee awarded a penalty and Mark van Bommel converted into the left corner; 3-0.

Just a few minutes later Van Bommel scored his second goal. Johann Vogel cleverly set him up. Van Bommel raced clear and put the ball into the empty net, after he had rounded the keeper. Hiddink then took off Vogel and thus Csaba Fehér was on the pitch for half an hour in order to get some match rhythm. PSV were content: they were in full control and slowly built up some more attacks. Ten minutes from final time Lee superbly found his country fellow Park, who - one to one with Van der Geest, beautifully lobbed the ball over the keeper on the bar.

PSV stepped down their efforts in the closing stages and did not score anymore goals.
PSV will be in action again on Sunday afternoon, when they travel to Waalwijk to meet RKC for a Holland Casino Eredivisie encounter.



River Plate 0-0 Racing (friendly)

The friendly match between River Plate and Racing Club was interrupted at half-time. Racing fans threw several exploding devices to the pitch, one of wich fell close to River Keeper, Germán Lux.

Horacio Ameli, who was the first to leave the field, at half-time, stated: "I won´t play anymor. It´s the second bomb that explodes. Do they want to kill us all?".

During the break, the referee met both team captains - Marcelo Gallardo and Diego Simeone - and decided to suspend the match. There is no decision as to wether the match will played again or not.

RIVER PLATE: Germán Lux; Pablo Barzola, Horacio Ameli, Lucas Frontini, Lucas Mareque; Luis González, Cristian Ledesma, Rubens Sambueza; Marcelo Gallardo; Marcelo Salas, Luciano Leguizamón.

RACING: Cristian Lucchetti; Carlos Araujo, Gustavo Cabral, Diego Crosa, Javier Pinola; Diego Barrado, Diego Simeone, Matías Romero, Angel Morales; Lisandro López, Marcelo Guerrero.


Estrela da Amadora 1-0 Penafiel (Taça de Portugal)

A last minute penalty goal gave Estrela the ticket to the quarter-finals of the portuguese cup. Estrela is the only team outside the Superleague in the next round.

EST. AMADORA: Paulo Lopes; Quim Berto, Carlos, Santamaria, Hugo Luz; Adilson, Hugo Machado, Soderstrom; Semedo (Bruno Mauro, 63'), Davide (Fábio Hempel, 56'), Henrique.

PENAFIEL: Nuno Santos; Celso, Nuno Silva, Odair, Kelly Berville; Sidney; Nilton, Fernando Aguiar, Bruno Amaro; Clayton (Edgar Marcelino, 74'), Folha (Pascal, 74').

GOALS: 1-0, Quim Berto (92', pen)

SENT-OFF: Odair (92'), Sidney (92')


Milan 3-2 Udinese (Coppa Italia)

Two goals from Italian international midfield player Massimo Ambrosini helped AC Milan earn a narrow 3-2 advantage against Udinese Calcio in the first leg of their Coppa Italia quarter-final.

Di Michele double
These two teams had already met at the San Siro ten days ago when Milan emerged 3-1 winners in Serie A, and Carlo Ancelotti's side looked to be on course for another success in the 17th minute when Ambrosini rose to head in a Serginho cross. However, the visitors drew level four minutes later through David Di Michele, and the same player struck again eight minutes before half-time to turn the match in Udinese's favour.

Free-kick winner
Seven minutes past the hour, however, Milan drew level with a similar strike to their opening goal, Ambrosini again converting Serginho's cross to make the score 2-2. Milan were able to welcome back striker Filippo Inzaghi, a 70th-minute substitute for his first appearance since 20 October, and snatched victory with six minutes remaining as Serginho curled in a splendid free-kick from 20 metres.



Benfica 3 - 3 Sporting (7-6 on gp) - Portuguese Cup

SL Benfica reached the quarter-finals of the Portuguese Cup by defeating Sporting Clube de Portugal 7-6 in a penalty shoot-out following a 3-3 draw after extra time.

Thrilling opening
Benfica could have hardly started the match in better fashion, taking the lead after only three minutes through Brazilian winger Geovanni. The visitors were level within eleven minutes, however, Hugo Viana equalising with a fine free-kick.

Quick replies
Just two minutes later Sporting were in front as Liedson received a pass between the Benfica central defenders, beat the offside trap and shot beyond goalkeeper Quim from the edge of the penalty area. Again the lead was short-lived, however, Geovanni quickly levelling following another free-kick.

Red card
There was also plenty of action in the second half, Fábio Rochemback testing Quim's reflexes with a fierce free-kick while Geovanni and Nuno Gomes went close for Benfica. With the sides locked together at 2-2 after 90 minutes, the match went into extra time, and Sporting were reduced to ten men in the 102nd minute when Hugo Viana was sent off for violent conduct.

Shoot-out drama
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the visitors regained the lead four minutes into the second half of extra time, left-back Paíto scoring after a fine solo run, but again Benfica responded, captain Simão Sabrosa striking a long-range equaliser with four minutes remaining to take the match to penalties. Sporting substitute Miguel Garcia was the only player to fail in the shoot-out, his penalty hitting the crossbar to take Benfica through.

Benfica – Quim; João Pereira, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha (30’ Alcides) e Dos Santos; Petit, Manuel Fernandes e Bruno Aguiar (82’ Fyssas); Simão (cap.), Geovanni (90’ Carlitos); Nuno Gomes.

Sporting – Tiago, Rogério (81’ Miguel Garcia), Polga, Enakarhire e Paíto; Custódio (36’ João Moutinho), Rochemback e Hugo Viana; Pedro Barbosa (cap.) (115’ Tello), Sá Pinto e Liedson.

Goals: Geovanni (3’), Hugo Viana (14’), Liedson (16’), Geovanni (22’), Paíto (109’) e Simão (117’).


Wednesday, January 26, 2005 

Inzaghi back for cup test

AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi could make his first appearance in two months tonight as the opening matches in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals are played.

'Ready to play'
Inzaghi is included in Carlo Ancelotti's squad for Milan's home game against Udinese Calcio and could feature as a substitute after receiving the green light from Marc Martens, the Belgian specialist who operated on his left ankle in November. "He is ready to play and I could give him some minutes against Udinese because he needs to return to full fitness," said Ancelotti. "We want to win the Coppa Italia as we did two years ago, so we are taking this competition seriously."



Athletic 3-2 Valladolid (Copa Del Rey)

Two goals in six second-half minutes helped Athletic Club Bilbao to a 3-2 Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg win against Real Valladolid, although Aritz Aduritz's late penalty could prove vital for the visitors.

Early opener
As expected, the second division side spent the opening minutes sitting back and waiting for their opportunity. Their plan paid off as early as the eighth minute when the home defence were caught out by a right-wing cross which Iñaki Hurtado turned past Iñaki Lafuente at the far post.

Del Horno delight
Athletic were dealt a second blow when key midfield player Francisco Yeste was forced to retire from the game through injury 15 minutes in. However, the Primera División outfit responded well to the double setback and quickly drew level thanks to Asier Del Horno's powerful long-range strike.

Quick goals
The Basque side largely controlled the game thereafter, but without managing a second breakthrough. That all changed within a six-minute spell late in the game, however, as Santiago Ezquerro rose to head a Tiko centre in on 74 minutes before Andoni Iraola converted a penalty five minutes later after Rafa López had handled.

Vital penalty
Valladolid, however, also responded quickly and came back in the match, and the tie, three minutes from time. Aduritz made no mistake from the penalty spot, to leave the tie intriguing poised ahead of next week's second leg.

ATHLETIC: Lafuente; Iraola, Prieto, Karanka (Gurpegui, 66'), Del Horno; Orbaiz, Tiko; Etxeberria, Guerrero, Yeste (Ezquerro,12'); Llorente (Javi González, 77').

VALLADOLID; Lledó; Rafa, Mateo, Mario (Jonathan, 46'), Marcos; Iñaki (Aduriz, 46'), Iván Zarandona (Robles, 72'); Xabi Moré, Chema, Alvaro; Losada.

GOALS: 0-1, Iñaki (8'); 1-1, Del Horno (18'); 2-1, Ezquerro (73'); 3-1, Iraola (79', pen); 3-2, Aduriz (82', pen).


Sunday, January 23, 2005 

Copa Libertadores 2005

The list of qualified teams is complete as well as the competition schedule.

The 2005 edition of the Copa Libertadores will start on February 1st, with the first phase. 12 teams will play a two leg round to qualify to the group stage. In this stage 36 teams will be divided in 8 groups of 4 teams, and will battle in home-and-way group system, for 1st or 2nd place in each group, wich will allow the to move onto the next round. From there on the qualified teams will play two-legs knock-out rounds, until the new champion is found.

The current champion is Once Caldas, of Colombia, that has qualified directly to the group stage (in group 7). Peñarol will play in the first phase, against Ecuatorians Liga Universitaria, for a place in group 2. River Plate waits in group 5 for the 4th element of the group, who will join the Milionarios, Nacional (of Uruguay) and Olmedo (of Ecuador)


Key A
(01/02) Mineros (VEN) - America Cali (COL)
(08/02) America Cali (COL) - Mineros (VEN)

Key B
(02/02) CD Guadalajara (MEX) - Cienciano (PER)
(09/02) Cienciano (PER) - CD Guadalajara (MEX)

Key C
(01/02) Quilmes (ARG) - Colo Colo (CHI)
(08/02) Colo Colo (CHI) - Quilmes (ARG)

Key D
(02/02) Tacuary (PAR) - Palmeiras (BRA)
(09/02) Palmeiras (BRA) - Taucary (PAR)

Key E
(03/02) Junior (COL) - Oriente Petrolero (BOL)
(10/02) Oriente Petrolero (BOL) - Junior (COL)

Key F
(03/02) Liga Universitaria (ECU) - Peñarol (URU)
(10/02) Peñarol (URU) - Liga Universitaria (ECU)


Group 1
Atl. Paranaense (BRA)
Winner Key A
Independiente Medellín (COL)
Libertad (PAR)

Group 2
Bolívar (BOL)
Danubio (URU)
Winner Key F
Santos (BRA)

Group 3
Winner Key C
São Paulo (BRA)
The Strongest (BOL)
Universidade Chile (CHI)

Group 4
Cerro Porteño (PAR)
Deportivo Táchira (VEN)
Santo André (BRA)
Winner Key D

Group 5
Winner Key E
Nacional (URU)
Olmedo (ECU)
River Plate (ARG)

Group 6
Alianza Lima (PER)
Banfield (ARG)
Caracas FC (VEN)
Tigres (MEX)

Group 7
Cobreloa (CHI)
Winner Key B
Once Caldas (COL)
San Lorenzo (ARG)

Group 8
Boca Juniors (ARG)
Deportivo Cuenca (ECU)
Pachuca CF (MEX)
Sporting Cristal (PER)


Defensor 2-2 Peñarol

Peñarol qualified for the Copa Libertadores, after drawing against Defensor in the second leg of the final of the interal league (Peñarol won the first leg).

DEFENSOR: Juan Castillo; Diego Jaume, Nelson Semperena, Williams Martínez, Carlos Díaz; Maximiliano Pereira, Alvaro González, Sebastián Ariosa, Diego De Souza; Sebastián Taborda, Andrés Rodríguez.

PEÑAROL: Federico Elduayen; Luiz Nunes, Cristian González, Jean Pierre, Alvaro Alonso; Carlos Diogo, Fabián Césaro, Gabriel Cedrés, Adrián Apellaniz (Sérgio Leal, 62'); Carlos Bueno, Gonzalo Pizzichillo (Daniel Hernandés, 77').

GOALS: 0-1, Pizzichillo (2'), 1-1, Rodríguez (40'); 2-1, Semperena (44'); 2-2, Carlos Diogo (83').


Est. Amadora 2-1 Ovarense

EST. AMADORA: Veiga; Quim Berto, Hugo Carreira, Santamaria, Zamorano; Davide (Hugo Luz, 56'), Fredrik, Carlos, Semedo; Rómulo (Hugo Machado, 66'), Henrique (Adilson, 84').

OVARENSE: Sérgio Leite; Alex Garcia, Jorge Humberto, Evilar, Valdir; Jaime (Fábio, 83'), Artur, Welington, Marco Abreu (Leandro Netto, 59'); Paulinho (Éder, 59'), Jefferson.

GOALS: 1-0, Davide (19'); 2-0, Semedo (81'); 2-1, Leandro Netto (91').


Livorno 1-0 Milan

Milan went down to a 1-0 defeat at Livorno and have now failed to win or score away from the San Siro since December 4. While the matches at Juventus and Palermo were played in a dominant manner, the same cannot be said for the encounter at the ’Stadio Picchi’ where despite Kaka hitting the post it was the home side that created the better chances. Once again a set-piece situation led to a goal as Dida did well to save Jose Luis Vidigal’s close range header from a deep free-kick but could do nothing to stop Corrado Colombo’s follow-up. The Rossoneri attempted to get back on level terms but Alessandro Nesta’s late sending-off summed up the afternoon.

LIVORNO: Amelia; Galante, Vargas, A Lucarelli; Balleri, Doga, Vigiani (Grauso, 69'), Passoni, Vidigal; Colombo (Protti, 61'), C Lucarelli.

MILAN: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Nesta, Maldini; Gattuso (Seedorf, 46'), Ambrosini (Rui Costa, 75'), Dhorasoo; Kaka; Shevchenko, Crespo (Tomasson, 65').

GOALS: 1-0, Colombo (28’)



Atheltic 4-3 Osasuna

Stunning strikes
At San Mamés, spectators were treated to a clutch of extraordinary goals as Athletic Club Bilbao overturned a three-goal deficit to defeat CA Osasuna 4-3. Pablo García, Pierre Webó and Patxi Puñal had seemingly put Osasuna into an unassailable position, only for the home side to stage a spectacular second-half rally.

Unlikely hero
Two goals in five minutes after the hour, including a sublime free-kick, from Francisco Yeste (later sent off) got Athletic going and Tiko coolly side-footed the leveller in the 83rd minute before home side found an unlikely hero in Julen Guerrero. The midfielder had previously played just 19 minutes all season but showed no sign of rustiness when volleying in Andoni Iraola's cross.

ATHLETIC: Aranzubia; Murillo, Lacruz (Iraola, 46'), Prieto, Javi González; Orbaiz (Tiko, 81'), Gurpegui; Etxeberria, Yeste, Ezquerro (Guerrero, 81'); Llorente.

OSASUNA: Elía; Expósito, Josetxo, Cruchaga, Clavero; David López (Muñoz, 65'), Pablo García, Puñal, Moha (Ortiz, 84'); Webó (Aloisi, 78'), Morales.

GOALS: 0-1, : Pablo García (15'); 0-2, Webó (48'); 0-3, Puñal (56'); 1-3, Yeste (60'); 2-3, Yeste (65'); 3-3, Tiko (83'); 4-3, Guerrero (89').



Botafogo 3-2 América

César Prates and Botafogo had a great debut in the Carioca Championship. The defender opened the scoring and Botafogo won a match that saw all five goals beeing scored in the second half.

BOTAFOGO: Jefferson; César Prates, Juninho, Scheidt, Marquinhos (Daniel); Leandro Carvalho, Túlio, Juca, Caio (Hugo); Alex, Almir (Élvis).

AMÉRICA: Lázaro; Edson (Guto), André, Max, Dida; Humberto, Luciano (Fabiano), Fábio, Léo; Edvaldo (William), Flavinho.

GOALS: 1-0, César Prates (51'); 2-0, Almir (57'); 3-0, Alex (64'); 3-1, William (73'); 3-2, William (90')


Boca Juniors 0-0 River Plate (friendly)

The superclassico endend goaless. Pato Abondazieri had a very inspired night, and managed to keep Boca's net intact. River Plate was superior, but unable turn this superiority into goals.

BOCA JUNIORS: Roberto Abbondanzieri; Baiano, Rolando Schiavi, Cristian Traverso, Aníbal Matellán; Diego Cagna, Raúl Cascini, Andrés Guglielminpietro (Ezequiel Scarione, 63'); Fabián Vargas (Luis Escalada, 78'); Guillermo Barros Schelotto (César Delgado, 78'), Martín Palermo.

RIVER PLATE: Franco Costanzo; Oscar Ahumada, Javier Gandolfi, Eduardo Tuzzio, Federico Domínguez; Jairo Patiño, Javier Mascherano (Cristian Ledesma, 82'), Víctor Zapata; Rubens Sambueza (Matías Abelairas, 64'); Gastón Fernández, José Sand.


Wolfsburg 1-2 Dortmund

A crowd of 29,621 in the VOLKSWAGENARENA saw the Bundesliga strugglers Borussia Dortmund gain revenge over VfL Wolfsburg for the 2-1 home defeat during the first game of the season. Two second half Dortmund goals within five minutes did the trick for Dortmund, who had little trouble controlling the home side which seemed to have trouble shaking off the winter break. The Wolves remain fourth in the Bundesliga table, at least for 24 hours. Tomorrow, Hertha could overtake them should they win their tricky away tie at Bochum. Hanover could do the same should they beat Leverkusen tomorrow.

Cautious start
Dortmund made a cautious start to the match and played an attractive passing game. They reached the edge of the home side’s penalty area, only to seem to run out of ideas once there. On 10 minutes the Wolves fired an initial warning shot, as Klimowicz headed over a Petrov cross. Coach Erik Gerets’ side started to take control and put the pressure on Dortmund by sending Petrov down the left wing at them. Wolfsburg’s other two strikers (Klimovicz and Topic, who was in the side for Brdaric who has bronchitis), never really got a sniff against the well organised defence around fit again Christoph Metzelder. On 28 minutes a long range effort by Quiroga was easily dealt with by the Borussia keeper Weidenfeller. The game was goalless at half time

Double Dortmund whammy
After the break, Dortmund brought on Smolarek, who joined them from Rotterdam on a loan deal only this week. The first chance of the second half fell to D’Alessandro, who got past Dede before delivering a low cross to Pablo Thiam who fluffed his chance at the far post. Then came the Smolarek debut show…On 55 minutes Koller brought Kringe into a move which came down the Wolfsburg left hand side. Kringe left Rytter for dead before putting in a pinpoint cross to Smolarek, who reached the ball ahead of Quiroga, before calmly slotting home from five yards out. That goal put the wind into Dortmund’s sails, and they cashed in on their new found confidence by doubling their lead only five minutes later. This time Ricken sprang the Wolfsburg off side trap with a clever pass to Koller, who shrugged off a challenge by Quiroga, before scoring his side’s second.

Too little too late…
The Wolves to their credit were shocked by the second goal but didn’t give up trying. On 68 minutes Topic missed a good chance to haul his side back into the game. Twenty minutes later, Petrov fed Quiroga who unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of the Dortmund net with Weidenfeller nowhere. The Wolves continued to mount wave upon wave of attacks, but it was all too little too late…

WOLFSBURG: Jentzsch; Rytter, Quiroga, Hofland, Weiser; Karhan, Thiam; D'Alessandro; Topic, Klimowicz, M. Petrov,

DORTMUND: Weidenfeller; C. Metzelder, Wörns, Bergdölmo, Dede; Kehl; Kruska, Kringe; Gambino, Koller, Ricken.

GOALS: 0-1, Smolarek (55'); 0-2, Koller (60'); 1-2, Quiroga (82')


Monday, January 17, 2005 

Peñarol 2-1 Defensor

Carlos Bueno's goals gave Peñarol the advantage in the final of the qualification for Continental Competitions. The second leg will be played wednesday, and will decide de Uruguay's representants in Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana in 2005.

PEÑAROL: Federico Elduayen;, Alejandro Correa Rodríguez, Cristian González, Jean Jacques Pierre, Alvaro Alonso; Fabián Césaro, Carlos Diogo, Gabriel Cedrés, Adrián Apellaniz (Alejandro Reyes, 81'); Carlos Bueno, Gonzalo Pizzichillo (Sergio Leal, 73').

DEFENSOR SPORTING: Juan Castillo; Nelson Semperena, Diego Jaume, William Martínez, Carlos Díaz; Alvaro González (Miguel Amado, 83'), Maximiliano Pereira (Marcelo Correa, 73'), Sebastián Ariosa, Diego De Souza (Petter Rocha, 73'); Andrés Rodríguez, Sebastián Taborda (9).

GOALS: 0-1, Andrés Rodríguez (55'); 1-1, Carlos Bueno (63', pen); 2-1, Carlos Bueno (64').


Olympiacos 1 - 0 Iraklis

Olympiacos CFP ended a tumultuous week with a hard-fought win against Iraklis FC to remain two points behind leaders Panathinaikos FC, who cantered to an emphatic 5-1 victory at home to OFI Crete FC. AEK Athens FC, meanwhile, were shocked by the Alpha Ethniki's bottom side Apollon Kalamarias FC.

Three-point penalty
Olympiacos CFP began the week at the summit but they and Panionios NFC had three points deducted by the Hellenic Football League yesterday after crowd trouble saw the match between the sides abandoned last week. Any hopes of an easy return to action were dispelled by a resolute Iraklis side, however, and it took an hour before Predrag Djordjevic scored the game's only goal from the penalty spot after Bark Seguiri's handball.



Est. Amadora 1-0 Desp. Aves

Estrela da Amadora climbed back to the top of the second league, after Paços de Ferreira and Ovarense lost their respective matches. Quim Berto's penalty secured the three points for the tricolores.

EST. AMADORA: Veiga; Quim Berto, Hugo Carreira, Carlos, Hugo Luz; Davide (Pedro Simões, 63'), Jordão (Santamaria, 91'), Adilson (Hugo Machado, 80'), Semedo; Rómulo, Henrique.

DESP. AVES: Rui Faria; Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Sérgio Nunes (Sérgio Carvalho, 45'), Pedro Geraldo; Miguel Pedro, Rochinha, Nené (Chevela, 77'), Hugo Morais (Pedras, 77'), Octávio; Rui Miguel.

GOALS: 1-0, Quim Berto (37', pen)


Anderlecht 2 - 0 Mouscron

Club Brugge KV and RSC Anderlecht began the new year as they finished 2004 by both claiming comfortable victories as the Eerste Klasse restarted following its winter break.

Swift start
Brugge maintained their seven-point advantage at the summit after racing into a two-goal lead against KSK Beveren. Jonathan Blondel and Rune Lange were both on target before the half hour and although Moussa Sanogo pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time, Peter Van Der Heyden restored the two-goal cushion on 75 minutes.

Anderlecht win
Anderlecht also found the net early in their match at home against R. Excelsior Mouscron when Aruna Dindane broke the deadlock on 18 minutes. They struggled to kill off the mid-table side, however, and it was not until two minutes from the final whistle that Yves Vanderhaeghe finally made the game safe.



Athletic 1-1 Espanyol

RCD Espanyol are fourth after drawing 1-1 at Athletic Club Bilbao, Francisco Yeste's third-minute opener being cancelled out half an hour later by Maxi Rodríguez.

ATHLETIC: Aranzubia; Iraola, Murillo, Gurpegui, Casas; Orbaiz, Tiko (Lacruz, 570); Etxeberria (Guerrero, 85'), Yeste, Ezquerro; Llorente.

ESPANYOL: Kameni; Ibarra, Lopo, Pochettino, David García; Ito (Morales, 89'), De la Peña; Coro (Soldevilla, 31'), Maxi, Amavisca (Posse, 74'); Jonathan.

GOALS: 1-0, Yeste (3'); 1-1, Maxi (32')



Benfica 4 - 0 Boavista

SL Benfica capitalised on slips by the four sides ahead of them before the weekend's matches to join FC Porto and Sporting Clube de Portugal at the top of the SuperLiga.

Boavista challenge
On paper, Benfica had the most difficult task as the top four entered the weekend, as they welcomed fifth-placed Boavista FC to the Estádio da Luz. But with Luião and Miguel both returning to the side after lay-offs, Giovanni Trapattoni's team took a while to find their stride. But after Simão Sabrosa's penalty had broken the deadlock six minutes before half-time, there was only going to be one winner. Nuno Gomes scored twice midway through the second period before Pedro Mantorras made it 4-0.



Benfica land Brazilian target Luiz

SL Benfica have signed Brazilian international centre-back André Luiz on a free transfer after his contract with Santos FC expired in December.

Double title winner
The defender, who had spent his entire career with Santos, has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal with Benfica. Capped once by his country, André Luiz won Brazilian championships with Santos in 2002 and 2004. He has begun training with his new team-mates and should be presented to the press on Monday.

Long-term target
Benfica had been targeting the player since last summer and, with the exception of Brazilian midfielder Roger's return from a loan spell with Fluminense FC, he is coach Giovanni Trapattoni's first winter signing.


Sunday, January 16, 2005 

Milan 3-1 Udinese

Milan kept up their challenge at the top of the table following an impressive 3-1 home win against third-placed Udinese. Coach Carlo Ancelotti brought fit-again Jaap Stam back into the centre of defence alongside Alessandro Nesta, with Paolo Maldini, who was of course celebrating twenty years at the club, moving out to his familiar left-back position. Clarence Seedorf replaced Vikash Dhorasoo on the left of midfield, with Kaka supporting strikers Hernan Crespo and Andriy Shevchenko.

Udinese came into the game having won their last two encounters against the Rossoneri at the San Siro and took the lead after just nine minutes when Antonio Di Natale latched on to Vincenzo Iaquinta’s pass on the edge of the area before turning sharply and firing a dipping shot over Dida. Milan dominated play after that but were finding it difficult to break down a well-organised defence until the 31st minute when Kaka found space on the right-hand side of the area and curled a low cross to the back post for Shevchenko to side-foot home from close range.

Shevchenko returned the compliment with a deft cross from the left but Kaka put his downward header against the base of the upright. As half time approached, Seedorf had an good opportunity in front of goalkeeper Morgan De Santis but lofted the ball over the crossbar.

Milan were equally determined at the beginning of the second half but it took an own-goal on 52 minutes to give them the lead. Seedorf curled in a cross from the right which the retreating Marek Jankulovski misjudged and headed past the stranded De Santis despite the fact that there were no Milan players in the area. Dida then had to react quickly to Iaquinta’s fierce free-kick which the Brazilian got down to finger-tip on to the post while at the other end Kaka had a drive charged down inside the area.

Jon Dahl Tomasson replaced Crespo on 77 minutes and the Dane evaded the offside trap to run free on goal but put his low shot too close to De Santis who saved but in the final moments Kaka put the result beyond doubt as he ran on to a loose Shevchenko knock-on before coolly drawing the goalkeeper and rolling the ball into the back of the net.

MILAN: Dida; Cafu (Costacurta, 88'), Nesta, Stam, Maldini; Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Ambrosini, 80'); Kakà; Shevchenko, Crespo (Tomasson, 77').

UDINESE: De Sanctis; Bertotto, Sensini, Felipe; Mauri (Fava, 77'), Pinzi, Pizarro, Pazienza (Pieri, 64'), Jankulovski; Iaquinta, Di Natale.

GOALS: 0-1, Di Natale (9'); 1-1, Shevchenko (30'); 2-1, Jankulovski (52', og); 3-1, Kakà (90').



Aberdeen 0-1 Celtic

A first-half strike by Chris Sutton was enough to give Celtic FC all three points against Aberdeen FC at Pittodrie on Sunday. The English forward was credited with his eleventh goal of the season on 24 minutes after his right-footed strike from 18 metres was deflected past Aberdeen goalkeeper Ryan Esson by defender Phil McGuire. Centre-back Zander Diamond cleared another Sutton effort off the goalline before half-time but from then on Celtic appeared content to protect their lead against an Aberdeen side who have now failed to score in 413 minutes of league action.



River Plate 1-1 Independiente (Friendly)

RIVER PLATE: Franco Costanzo; Javier Gandolfi, Cristian Tula, Pablo Frontini, Lucas Mareque; Oscar Ahumada (Jesús Mendez, 76'), Cristian Ledesma, Victor Zapata; Gastón Fernández (Rubens Sambueza, 74'); José Sand (Luciano Leguizámon, 82'), Maxi López.

INDEPENDIENTE: Carlos Navarro Montoya; Jorge Martínez (Leandro Pereyra, 85'), Javier Muñoz Mustafá, Carlos Matheu, Diego Ludueña; Lucas Pusineri, Sebastián Carrizo, Juan Eluchans; Franco Cangele; Sergio Agüero (Lucas Cariati, 78'), José Flores (Martín Fabro, 70').

GOALS: 0-1, Flores (12'); 1-1, Sand (46').

Friday, January 14, 2005 

The Wolves draw again

VfL Wolfsburg followed up their 1-1 draw with HSV last Sunday with a 2-2 draw against the Swiss league champions Basel on Thursday (13.1.05), at the club’s training camp in La Manga, Spain. The Wolves will play their final preparation game before the Bundesliga round 18 match at home to Borussia Dortmund on January 22nd against the Dutch side FC Groningen, on January 17th (kick off 8.15 pm) in the VOLKSWAGEN ARENA. The match will be shown live on the DSF TV channel.

Key trio out
The Wolves coach Erik Gerets was without his Argentinean duo of Andres D´Alessandro and Diego Klimowicz, as well as his first choice goalkeeper and Simon Jentzsch. A crowd of around 200 saw Patrick Weiser set up Marko Topic for the first Wolfsburg goal after 33 minutes, the Bundesliga side’s second goal was scored by Thomas Rytter, who headed in after 63 minutes. The Basel goals were scored by Patrick Müller (59.) and David Degen (61.).

Good first half performance
"I was happy with the first half performance. We changed our tactics fort he second half, and I must admit we were asleep as they scored their goals. What pleased me however was how the side came back after going 1-2 down,” said the Wolves coach Erik Gerets.

The Wolves line-up: Lenz - Quiroga (46. Franz), Hofland (81. Biliskov), Schnoor (46. Sarpei), Rytter (65. Fischer) - Hrgovic (11. Weiser), Thiam, Karhan - Topic (46. Petrov), Maric (46. Brdaric), Menseguez (76. Präger).


Thursday, January 13, 2005 

Lanzarote 2-1 Athletic (Copa del Rey)

Athletic fell behind midway through the first period at third division UD Lanzarote, Alejandro Suárez scoring in the 21st minute. The same player inadvertently scored the next goal 15 minutes later, turning the ball into his own net to bring Athletic level, but atoned for his error a minute before the interval with another strike that earned a 2-1 victory for the home team.

LANZAROTE: Marino; Rubén, Iker Iraola, Molina, Raúl; Miguel Angel, Alejandro, Cotrofe, Nacho Calvillo (Gago, 80'); Gustavo (Francis Torres, 83'); Lanza (Pala, 65')

ATHLETIC: Lafuente; Javi Casas, Karanka, Julen Guerrero, Luis Prieto; Iraola, Gurpegui, Arriaga (Ezquerro, 63'); Tiko; César, Urzaiz

GOALS: 1-0, Alejandro (21'); 1-1, Alejandro (34', og); 2-1, Alejandro (46').


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