Wednesday, February 23, 2005 

PSV 1 - 0 Monaco (CL)

PSV Eindhoven were grateful to defender Alex for their hard-fought single-goal win against AS Monaco FC in a tight UEFA Champions League first knockout round first-leg contest.

Early strike
The Brazilian's eighth-minute header from a corner was enough to give the Dutch side a narrow advantage to take to the return leg. PSV controlled the game for long spells but were unable to increase their lead against the French side, who defended stoutly to keep alive their hopes of progress.

Midfield struggle
PSV were looking to avenge a home defeat against Monaco in last season's group stage, and on a bitterly cold evening both sides took time to settle with the early exchanges confined to midfield. The visitors had the first attempt on goal after six minutes, Mohamed Kallon firing wide from outside the area.

Perfect header
But PSV retaliated swiftly, and snatched the vital opener two minutes later. Mark van Bommel swung in the game's first corner and Alex rose highest in the packed goalmouth to plant a firm downward header past Monaco goalkeeper Flavio Roma and set the home fans celebrating.

PSV pressing
With Korean international Ji-Sung Park a busy presence on the right, PSV sought to press home their advantage, and Jefferson Farfán disappointingly shot weakly into Roma's arms after a surging right-wing run had opened up the visitors' defence midway through the first half. Soon afterwards, Swiss midfield player Johann Vogel advanced to shoot over the bar as Monaco were pressed back.

Crucial intervention
Despite seeing plenty of the ball, the French team were finding it hard to create any threat as the half-hour passed, with strikers Javier Saviola and Emmanuel Adebayor well shackled by the PSV defence. However, Alex was forced into a last-ditch tackle to foil Adebayor when the tall striker looked to break clear into the penalty area after the home side had squandered possession in midfield.

No margin for error
Vogel was shown the yellow card in 37 minutes for a foul on Jaroslav Plašil, and Monaco captain Julien Rodriguez also went into the book for a robust challenge on Young-Pyo Lee. A tightly-contested first half ended with a spell of fruitless Monaco pressure, Lucas Barnardi shooting over the bar from long range, but PSV were the happier of two sides at the break.

Striking change
United States attacker DaMarcus Beasley replaced Farfán after 52 minutes for PSV, and the second half began with neither side able to gain the ascendancy in an increasingly tense encounter that was producing little in the way of clear-cut opportunities. PSV full-back André Ooijer did shoot over, however, in a rare moment of goalmouth action.

Hard work
PSV needed a second goal to give themselves a comfortable advantage for their trip to France, but their approach work was becoming untidy and Monaco, while struggling to make their presence felt in attack, were working hard to deny them an opening.

Monaco threat
A rare attempt on goal from the away team followed in the 65th minute, Saviola turning and shooting over the angle from Adebayor's pull-back from the byline. The Dutch side needed to stay vigilant to prevent Monaco snatching an all-important away goal, and Plašil shot straight at PSV goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes when the visitors came forward again.

Kallon chance
Monaco seemed happy to limit the damage in the closing minutes as PSV's attacking fire subsided, but they came desperately close to a leveller with four minutes left, Kallon heading centimetres over from Bernardi's lob. Nevertheless, the tie remains intriguingly poised ahead of the return leg on 9 March.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005 

Benfica 2 - 1 V. Guimarães

SL Benfica moved level on points with FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese SuperLiga on Monday night with a 2-1 victory at home against Vitória SC.

Tight at the top
Four teams had begun the weekend fixtures level at the top on 38 points, and champions Porto opened up a three-point cushion with a slender 1-0 win at CF Os Belenenses on Friday night. Both Sporting Clube de Portugal and Boavista FC were held on Saturday, but Benfica made no mistake in Monday's game.

Brazilian forward Geovanni gave Giovanni Trapattoni's side the perfect start, opening the scoring in the eleventh minute, and the points looked safe when midfield player Nuno Assis doubled the lead two minutes before half-time.

Guimarães fightback
However, visitors Guimarães halved the deficit in the first minute of the second period through César Peixoto, but the away side were unable to find an equaliser and their lingering hopes were effectively ended by the late dismissal of Brazilian striker Epidio Silva. Benfica therefore joined Porto on 41 points, but are second on goal difference.


Portuguese SuperLiga

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Porto 22 41
2. Benfica 22 41
3. Sporting 22 39
4. Boavista 22 39
5. Braga 22 37

Monday, February 21, 2005 

River Plate 1-0 Banfield

RIVER PLATE: Germán Lux; Carlos Diogo, Horacio Ameli, Fernando Crosa, Lucas Mareque (José Sand, 72'); Jairo Patiño (Cristian Ledesma, 86'), Javier Mascherano, Víctor Zapata; Marcelo Gallardo; Gastón Fernández (Lucho Gonzaléz, 53'), Ernesto Farías.

BANFIELD: Bernardo Leyenda; Marcos Galarza, Renato Civelli, Juan Azconbábal, Damián Giménez; Gastón Galván (Gabriel Paletta, 90'), Andrés San Martín, Esteban Buján (Fabián Santana, 72'), Federico Barrionuevo (Darío Cvitanich, 66'); Emiliano Armenteros, Diego Ceballos.

GOALS: 1-0, Gonzaléz (79')

Torneo Apertura

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. River Plate 2 6
2. Estudiantes LP 2 6
3. Lanús 4 2
4. Quilmes 4 2
5. Rosário Central 4 2


Hamburg SV 2 - 1 Kaiserslautern

HSV won their Bundesliga round 22 match at home to Kaiserslautern on Saturday afternoon. A crowd of 50, 916 in the AOL Arena saw Naohiro Takahara give coach Trainer Thomas Doll’s side the nlead on 29 minutes. Five minutes before the break, Almami Moreira mopped up a van Buyten shot which came back off a post to give HSV two goal half time lead. After the break, Kaiserslautern hit back through a goal by Halil Altintop on 52 minutes, but HSV hung onto their lead and in doing so, spoilt the return to Hamburg of Kurt Jara and Ingo Hertzsch.

The home coach Thomas Doll made two changes to the side which beat Stuttgart 2-1 at home last time out. Wicky and Moreira came in to the starting line-up for Benjamin and Mahdavikia. The Kaiserslautern coach Kurt Jara, who used to coach HSV picked Riedl ahead of Grammozis fort he visit to Hamburg. It was the only change to the Lautern side which beat lowly Rostock in round 21.

7 game unbetaten run
The visitors came to the AOL Arena with an unbeaten 7 match run to defend, and they made the better start to the match, but missed gilt edged early chances through Seitz, Amanatidis and Halil Altintop. It took HSV ten minutes to settle down and get a hold on the game. Midfielder David Jarolim missed a half chance for HSV, but Lautern remained ever dangerous on the break.

Takahara gives HSV the lead
On 29 minutes, HSV took the lead as their “Sushi-Bomber“ Naohiro Takahara powered in an unstoppable header as he latched onto a perfectly weighted free kick by Stefan Beinlich. The visiting side replied with furious counter attacks, but failed to finish in front of goal after creating good scoring chances. One had the feeling it wasn’t going to be Lautern’s day, as a shot by Altintop came back off the underside of the bar and back into play halfway through the first half.

Moreira makes it 2-0
HSV had more luck in front of goal, as on 40 minutes, a long distance effort by the HSV skipper van Buyten came back off a post to the feet of the lurking Moreira, who only had to push the ball home from close range as he stood unmarked at the far post. A good first half ended with HSV two goals to the good…probably a goal too high on the balance of play, but HSV took it anyway!

Lautern fight back
HSV made the better start to the second half, but good chances to kill the game off by Takahara and van Buyten went begging. As is often the case in football, the home side were made to rue those lost chances for a while as Beinlich headed straight to the feel of Altintop, who made no mistake in pulling a goal back for Lautern with a fierce shot into the bottom corner of Pieckenhagen’s net on 52 minutes.

Tame finish
That goal had the huge home crowd fearing a second half onslaught by Kaiserslautern, who brought on the former German international striker Jancker after an hour. As it turned out it wasn’t to be…The entertainment shown by both sides during the firast half, was replaced by both sides reaching each others box only to be found wanting in the ideas department. And so it was, that HSV extended their unbeaten run to five matches and moved up to 5th place in the Bundesliga table, at least for 24 hours. Now HSV face a tricky away trip to Berlin in round 23, where they take on Hertha, who play Stuttgart away on Sunday.

HSV: Pieckenhagen - Schlicke, van Buyten, Boulahrouz, Klingbeil - Wicky, Jarolim (80.Benjamin), Beinlich, Moreira (75.Lauth) - Barbarez, Takahara (89.Reinhardt)

Kaiserslautern: Ernst - Lembi, Wenzel, Hertzsch, Blank - Riedl, Engelhardt, Sforza (72.Kosowski), Seitz - Altintop, Amanatidis (60.Janker)

Goals: 1:0 Takahara (29.), 2:0 Moreira (40.), 2:1 Altintop (52.)



Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Bayern 22 44
2. Schalke 22 44
3. Bremen 22 40
4. Leverkusen 22 38
5. Stuttgart 22 38
6. Hamburg SV 22 37


PSV 4 - 1 NEC

PSV romped to a comfortable 4-1 win over N.E.C. in the Eindhoven Philips Stadium on Saturday night. Although PSV may have had the crucial Champions League tie against AS Monaco at the back of their minds, the Nijmegen side showed little inspiration, so that the hosts coasted to an emphatic 4-1 win.

Top-of-the table PSV, with Theo Lucius deputizing for Mark van Bommel, kicked off the game, knowing that N.E.C. had never enjoyed a victory in the Philips Stadium yet. N.E.C. coach Cees Lok fielded three forwards, but they proved to be pretty harmless and did not create any dangerous moments in front of the PSV goal. Phillip Cocu was the architect in midfield and PSV performed another business-like performance. N.E.C. were beaten in a professional way and the players can now fully focus on the AS Monaco clash.

PSV earned a few chances in the opening exchanges. Ji-Sung Park, Johann Vogel and Phillip Cocu threatened, but N.E.C. goalkeeper Dennis Gentenaar saved all their efforts. It did not take long, though, before PSV broke the deadlock. The move that led to the opening goal on 20 minutes was started by Cocu. He set up Park with a superb pass and the South Korean did not fail; 1-0. N.E.C. could not muster the courage for a comeback in the remaining minutes of the first period. They showed no initiative whatsoever and PSV were the only side willing to go forward. PSV doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time, when substitute DaMarcus Beasley, who had been brought on for Vogel, was at the end of a flowing move in which Jefferson Farfán and Park were involved. With a 2-0 half-time score the game was virtually killed off and everything seemed peachy keen.

After the break the game continued in the same vein. Farfán was put clear, but his weak effort gave Gentenaar no problem. Out of the blue, however, N.E.C. pulled one goal back. Said Boutahar scored 2-1 on 55 minutes, following sloppy defending by PSV. It was not the best part of the game; the hosts produced some inaccurate passes. PSV did not dominate for about twenty minutes and N.E.C. got some hope to get a fair result after all. Yet PSV netted a third goal that made sure of victory. Lucius delivered a long ball in the area on 71 minutes. Young-Pyo Lee neatly controlled it and the South Korean found Vennegoor of Hesselink, who took his season’s tally to fourteen goals with a glancing header; 3-1

PSV put the icing on the cake on 77e minutes. André Ooijer was completely unmarked when he rose high to head home a Wilfred Bouma free kick; 4-1.

PSV netted four goals in a home game for the fourth time since the restart after the winter break.

The fans hoped that Robert de Pinho de Souza would be handed his debut now that PSV romped to a comfortable win, but Guus Hiddink did not ask the Brazilian to leave the bench yet. He took off Vennegoor of Hesselink for Gerald Sibon and Ooijer for Kasper Bøgelund ten minutes from time.

N.E.C. realized it was all over and PSV took no risks in view of the Champions League tie against AS Monaco on Tuesday night.

Goals: 21´ Park (1-0), 45´ Beasley (2-0), 55´ Boutahar (2-1), 71´ Vennegoor of Hesselink (3-1), 77´ Ooijer (4-1)


Dutch First Division

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. PSV 22 55
2. AZ 22 51
3. Ajax 22 47
4. Feyenoord 22 41
5. Utrecht 22 35

Sunday, February 20, 2005 

Estrela 3-0 Alverca

EST. AMADORA: Veiga; Quim Berto, Santa Maria, Carlos, Hugo Luz; Hugo Machado (Zamorano, 61'), Jordão, Nelsinho; Semedo (Davide, 64'), Rómulo (João Moreira, 78'), Rui Borges.

ALVERCA: Bruno Fernandes; Militão (Carolo, 38'), Júnior, Miguel Bruno, Vasco Fernandes; Rodolfo, Ladji Keyta (Artur Futre, 68'), Fumo, Pedro Neves; Comboio, Marco Airosa (Xano, 69').

GOALS: 1-0, Nelsinho, (2'); 2-0, Rómulo (16'); 3-0, Semedo (28')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Paços Ferreira 22 45
2. Est. Amadora 22 43
3. Naval 22 39


MIlan 1-0 Cagliari

Milan gained a dramatic late victory over Cagliari to move joint-top of the table with Juventus thanks to a stunning half-volley from Serginho. Coach Carlo Ancelotti made a number of changes to the side, with Giuseppe Pancaro coming in at left-back while Paolo Maldini was partnered by Jaap Stam in the centre of defence. Rui Costa and Christian Brocchi were given starts in midfield and Jon Dahl Tomasson joined Andriy Shevchenko in attack.

Milan dominated from the start and Shevchenko ran on to Rui Costa’s pass only to have his shot charged down, then Clarence Seedorf fired wide from the edge of the area. The Rossoneri, however, suffered an early set-back when Shevchenko had to leave the pitch with a head injury. The Ukrainian rose to send in a powerful header from a Cufu cross which goalkeeper Gennaro Iezzo did well to save but unfortunately, the striker collided with defender Simone Loria and was replaced by Crespo. The home side kept pressing forward and Iezzo could only parry a fierce Seedorf strike and Rui Costa saw his follow-up charged down for a corner kick. Seedorf again tried his luck from distance while Cafu drove wide from a tight angle. The best chance came on 40 minutes when Pancaro swept a low ball across the face of the goal which just evaded the incoming Crespo and Tomasson.

Cagliari created an opening early in the second half when Massimo Gobbi’s low effort was deflected wide of the goal by Mauro Esposito while at the other end, Andrea Pirlo just missed the target with a curling effort. Maldini then skipped past two opponents down the left flank but when the ball came out to Rui Costa, the Portuguese star could not keep his shot down. Kaka came on for the last 20 minutes for Tomasson but Milan were soon left in ten men as Pancaro received his second yellow card for a foul on Esposito. Kaka then got a low drive away which the ’keeper saved and Rui Costa arrived at the back post only to put a downward header wide. As the game headed deep into injury time, Cafu took advantage of Francesco Pisano’s slip at the byline and floated a wonderful cross to the back post for Serginho to rasp home the winner. The Sardinian side felt that their player had been pushed and Alessandro Agostini was sent-off for

MILAN: Dida; Cafu, Stam, Maldini, Pancaro; Brocchi (Serginho, 57'), Pirlo, Seedorf ; Rui Costa; Tomasson (Kaka, 71'), Shevchenko (Crespo, 14')

CAGLIARI: Iezzo; Lopez, Bega, Loria, Agostini; Abeijon (Suazo, 81'), Conti, Gobbi; Esposito, Zola (Del Nevo, 75'), Langella (Pisano, 89')

GOALS: 0-1, Serginho (92')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Milan 25 54
2. Juventus 25 54
3. Internazionale 25 53
4. Udinese 25 41
5. Sampdoria 24 38



Real Madrid 0-2 Athletic Bilbao

At the Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo rested Raúl González, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo with one eye on Tuesday's Champions League duel with Juventus FC - and the decision backfired.

Del Horno strike
Athletic claimed that a blistering Tiko drive had crossed the line and were dismayed when play was waved on, but the Basque side took control just before the hour when Asier Del Horno rose to head Pablo Orbaiz's centre past Iker Casillas.

Iraola double
Luxemburgo brought on his big guns but Athletic extended their lead on 72 minutes when Andoni Iraola was left free to beat Casillas from inside the area. Athletic, who are now unbeaten in ten league games, go eighth on 35 points while Madrid remain second place with 50 points.

REAL MADRID: Iker Casillas; Míchel Salgado, Helguera, Samuel, Raúl Bravo (Raúl, 66'); Beckham, Gravesen, Figo (Zidane, 66'), Solari; Guti, Owen (Ronaldo, 66')

ATHLETIC: Aranzubía; Murillo, Luis Prieto, Gurpegui, Del Horno; Iraola (Solabarrieta, 80'), Tiko (Lacruz, 71'), Orbáiz, Yeste (Casas, 88'); Etxeberría, Ezquerro.

GOALS: 0-1, Del Horno (57'); 0-2,Iraola (73')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Barcelona 24 57
2. Real Madrid24 50
3. Sevilla 24 41
4. Valencia 23 38
5. Betis 23 38
8. Athletic 24 35



Wolfsburg 4-0 Hansa Rostock

VfL Wolfsburg grabbed their first win since the winter break, as they emphatically beat lowly Hansa Rostock 4-0 in the ro0und 22 Bundesliga match in the VOLKSWAGENARENA. A strike by Andres D'Alessandro on 4 minutes, and a further goal by his compatriot Diego Klimowicz 3 minutes later put the Wolves into cruise control early on. Second half goals by Pablo Thiam (63.) and Tomislav Maric (83.) wrapped up what was a thoroughly deserved victory for coach Erik Gerets and his side.

All change
Wolfsburg’s coach Erik Gerets made five changes to the side which lost 0-3 away to Schalke in the previous round. In defence, the Belgian picked Rytter, Hofland and Schnoor, instead of Sarpei, Franz and Weiser. Up front, Fischer and Menseguez made room in the starting line-up for Petrov and D’Alessandro. Jörg Berger the Hansa coach, made three changes to the side which somewhat unluckily lost 1-2 away to Kaiseerslauetrn Last time out. Maul, Persson and di Salvo took the place of Tjikuzu, Lantz and David Rasmussen.

Early lead
The game was only a minute old as Thomas Brdaric spurned a golden opportunity to give his team the lead, and what would have been the perfect start. The German international striker found himself one on one with the Hansa keeper Schober, who reacted superbly to deny the Wolves striker. The disappointing crowd of only 17,836 needn’t have worried though, because on 4 minutes superb work by Rytter brought Klimowicz into a move which was superbly rounded off by Andres D'Alessandro who beat Schober from close range to give the home side the lead and of course calm the Wolfsburg nerves.

Brilliant move leads to 2-0
The Wolves had smelt blood and went at the visitors as if there was no tomorrow. On 7 minutes, Karhan played Brdaric in down the right wing. The Wolves goal-getter had no trouble reaching the by-line where he put in a pinpoint cross onto the head of the unmarked Klimowicwz who was lurking in the Rostock area. After that goal the visitors seemed to wake up and went close as Rydlewicz broke through the Wolfsburg defensive line and rounded keeper Jentzsch, only to be foiled by a splendid goal line clearance by the former Wolves skipper Schnoor.

Wolves in control
VfL Wolfsburg had the lion’s share of possession and after going two goals up seemed prepared to sit back and wait for Hansa to come at them. Rostock obliged… but without any real effect. It was the home side which always looked the more dangerous as missed chances by D’Alessandro, Petrov, Brdaric and Karhan before half time underlined. After the break the situation remained the same with the Wolves always in control. On 48 minutes, Klimowicz could have added to his season goal tally, but failed to do so, wasting another good chance.

Game over for Hansa
On 63 minutes, the home side went 3-0 up as Pablo Thiam latched onto an accurate free kick by Martin Petrov, which was brilliantly saved by Schober, who could only watch as Thiam headed home unchallenged from close range. That goal gave Erik Gerets’ side the confidence to drop down a gear and just control the game and their opponent. di Salvo was foiled by a stunning save by Jentzsch later on in the match, but the visiting side never really gave the impression that they could be a serious threat.

Icing on the cake
The Wolves front line had by no means had enough and scored what turned out to be the last goal of the match 7 minutes from time as their best player Karhan set the ball up for second half substitute Maric, who blasted home a pile driver from 8 metres out. So the Wolves have finally won their first game since the winter break. No doubt the victory will boost the confidence of the Wolves ahead of their round 23 trip to Kaiserslautern, who lost 1-2 in Hamburg in round 22. For Hansa Rostock, this defeat looked like further nail in their Bundesliga coffin. The East Coast side are now bottom of the table, ten points away from safety.

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

HANSA ROSTOCK: Schober; Hartmann, Möhrle, K. Madsen, Maul; Persson; Rydlewicz, Litmanen, T. Rasmussen; Arvidsson, di Salvo.

GOALS: 1-0, D'Alessandro (4'); 2-0, Klimowicz (7'); 3-0, Thiam (63'); 4-0, T. Maric (83')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Bayern 22 44
2. Schalke 21 41
3. Bremen 22 40
4. Leverkusen 22 38
5. Hamburg 22 37
8. Wolfsburg 22 33


Thursday, February 17, 2005 

Olympiacos - Sochaux (Uefa Cup Preview)

Greek league leaders Olympiacos CFP are without five key players as they put their perfect European home record in 2004/05 on the line against FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in their UEFA Cup Round of 32 encounter.

Absent quartet
Not only are regular centre-backs Gabriel Schürrer and Georgios Anatolakis suspended following Olympiacos's UEFA Champions League exit at Liverpool FC, but left-back Stylianos Venetidis and winger Georgios Georgiadis are out for the season with knee ligament damage and striker Giovanni is absent after unscheduled dental surgery.

Team changes
Home coach Dušan Bajevic will play Athanasios Kostoulas and Spyridon Vallas in central defence, while Grigorios Georgatos and Anastasios Pantos compete for the Venetidis role. Meanwhile, Miloš Maric should start on the right of midfield with Rivaldo and Ioannis Okkas leading the line.

Winning tactic
Bajevic said: "We must try to avoid conceding a goal. I think we can win, but that will take patience and discipline." For this first-leg tie, fans will be readmitted to the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium, from which supporters are currently serving a four-match domestic ban.

Intimidating atmosphere
Sochaux coach Guy Lacombe admits the atmosphere will be intimidating. "We have spoken a lot about this with the players," he said. "If we let the venue and the crowd affect us, we will have no chance."

Menez chance
Midfielder Wilson Oruma and defender Ibrahim Tall are injured, while striker Ilan has failed to overcome a groin problem. With fellow forward Jaouad Zairi involved in a car crash on Tuesday, 17-year-old Jérémy Menez, freshly returned from the UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup in Turkey, could step in.

Sochaux spirit
Defender Sylvain Monsoreau hopes to take inspiration from the 6-2 aggregate win against BV Borussia Dortmund in the second round last season. "We will have to recapture the spirit we had when we edged out Dortmund," he said.



CSKA Moskva - Benfica (Uefa Cup Preview)

PFC CSKA Moskva take on SL Benfica in the UEFA Cup on Thursday without several of the players who played in the UEFA Champions League group stage before the winter break.

Winter departures
Sergei Semak and Jiri Jarošik have departed from Paris Saint-Germain FC and Chelsea FC respectively, while Croatian striker Ivica Olic is still injured and Deividas Šemberas and Yuri Zhirkov are both suspended. "Our task is to learn to do well without the players who have left," said CSKA coach Valeri Gazzaev.

Key absentees
"Olic, Zhirkov and Šemberas are three key players who run the game for CSKA," Gazzaev added. "But still we have a good squad and there are players who can replace the ones who are absent. This is a chance for them to show their best qualities."

Miguel hope
Benfica are hoping that Miguel will be fit to face the Russian side, but coach Giovanni Trapattoni has already revealed that he will start with the same team which played against SC Braga on Sunday so the best the right-back can hope for is a place on the bench. Simão Sabrosa, Geovanni and Nuno Gomes will play up front.

Draw the target
Despite the attacking lineup, Trapattoni said that he would be pleased if his team came away from the trip to Russia with a draw. "The most important thing is not to lose this match and if we score a goal that will be very important," said the Italian coach.

'Growing as a team'
"This game is coming at a good time for us as the team is feeling very confident," Trapattoni continued. "We are growing as a team and improving our quality, attitude and personality. However, we must not forget that CSKA are a very good team with a lot of international players."



Fenerbahçe - Zaragoza (Uefa Cup Preview)

Fenerbahçe SK coach Christoph Daum has urged his players to maintain the standards they set in defeating Manchester United FC 3-0 before Christmas when they face Real Zaragoza in the first leg of their UEFA Cup Round of 32 tie.

Daum warning
The Turkish club outclassed their English visitors in the final match of UEFA Champions League group stage, and Daum feels a similar performance will be needed against the Spanish club. "I have warned my players that they must repeat their performance in the United game," said Daum. "Zaragoza are in 12th place in Primera División but they deserve better if you look at the quality of their squad. We have to use the advantage of playing in front of our home crowd to defeat them."

Home advantage
Tuncay Sanli, who scored a hat-trick in the defeat of United, also emphasised the importance of having strong support in the first leg. He said: "We have targets in this competition. With the first leg being at home, our opponents will probably play for a draw. But thanks to the support of our fans I am confident we can get a big win.”

Nobre worry
Fenerbahçe's Brazilian striker Marcio Nobre missed training on Monday with a bruised rib but he should still be fit for Thursday. However his compatriot, midfield player Marco Aurelio will miss the game through suspension.

Jiménez blow
Real Zaragoza have suffered the blow of losing centre-half César Jiménez for the rest of the season after he sustained a cruciate ligament injury against Real Madrid CF on 18 January, but they welcome back goalkeeper César Láinez after a long spell out with a knee injury of his own.

Muñoz confident
Zaragoza coach Víctor Muñoz warned his opponents that they will not be in for an easy ride against his team. He said: “Fenerbahçe may consider us to be an easy side and think that they are going to qualify without problems. There is absolutely no doubt that they are a great side - they are the best in Turkey - but we are a decent team too."



Basel - Lille (Uefa Cup Preview)

New FC Basel 1893 defender Patrick Müller insists his side will not be at a disadvantage in the first leg of their UEFA Cup Round of 32 tie at home to LOSC Lille Métropole on Thursday despite not playing a league match in over two months.

Basel debut
The Swiss leaders last played a league game on 11 December, but Müller, who will be making his debut after signing from RCD Mallorca, does not believe the lack of competitive matches will hamper them against Ligue 1's in-form side.

'Give everything'
"Of course we can't compare practice games to real matches, but we've prepared against top teams and are highly motivated to finally start playing again," he said. "We'll give everything to beat them."

Total respect
Müller knows Lille well after spending three-and-a-half years in France with Olympique Lyonnais and he is full of respect for the northern side. "I've lost a lot of matches against Lille," Müller said. "It will be very important for us to win as many tackles as possible."

'Outstanding team'
While Basel have been enjoying a break from league action, Lille have been busy consolidating second spot in Ligue 1. In addition, after qualifying as Group H winners, Claude Puel's side are looking forward to the knockout stages with confidence. "Basel are an outstanding team in Switzerland, but we're going there to win, as we do for every match," Puel said.

Landrin injured
Lille are without midfield players Christophe Landrin (broken rib) and Jean Makoun (knee), while defender Rafael Schmitz is suspended. Tony Sylva, Milenko Acimovic and Benoît Angbwa were all rested for last weekend's impressive 3-2 French Cup win against RC Lens, but should return at St. Jakob-Park. Basel coach Christian Gross is without the injured Murat Yakin but new signing Reto Zanni should feature.



Shakhtar 1 - 1 Shalke (UEFA CUP)

Brazilian striker Brandão struck four minutes from time to cancel out compatriot Ailton's early goal and earn FC Shakhtar Donetsk a draw at home to FC Schalke 04 in the UEFA Cup Round of 32.

Early shock
Ailton gave the German side the lead in the seventh minute in Donetsk, although the visitors were unable to build on that advantage. Shakhtar threw everything forward in the second half in search of an equaliser and, just as it seemed their relentless pressure would not be rewarded, Brandão finally broke through in the 86th minute to leave the tie perfectly poised ahead of the return leg in Germany next Thursday.

New signings rested
Despite both dabbling in the transfer market during the winter break, neither side fielded any new arrivals in their starting lineups. For Shakhtar the Brazilian trio of Iván Saraiva, Jadson and Elano, a €7.6m signing from Santos FC, started on the bench. Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick, meanwhile, opted again for the in-form Ailton up front.

Initial threat
The away team started with confidence, Ebbe Sand tucking Niels Oude-Kamphuis's right-wing cross just the wrong side of Jan Laštuvka's left-hand post in the second minute. Although Shakhtar tried to rally, the visitors took the lead with their very next attack, Sven Vermant finding Sand with his back to goal, and his overhead kick freed Ailton for a clinical strike across Czech goalkeeper Laštuvka that crept in at the far post.

Brandão's strength
Shakhtar refused to panic and, thanks largely to the aerial strength of Brandão, they worked their way back into the game. The big Brazilian striker first tested Frank Rost with a dipping 25-metre strike four minutes after Ailton's goal and then forcing the Schalke goalkeeper to block a low shot with his outstretched foot.

Shakhtar break
Schalke largely relied on Ailton and Sand on the counterattack, but this approach almost backfired as Anatoliy Tymoschuk almost equalised after Shakhtar had cleared a rare Schalke corner. Julius Aghahowa had Shakhtar's best chance of the first period on 41 minutes, latching on to Razvan Rat's high ball, only for his thunderous strike to rebound off Rost's head. The goalkeeper required treatment, but was able to play on.

New legs
Elano came on for Shakhtar at the break as coach Mircea Lucescu looked for more creativity, and the Brazilian playmaker's first contribution was to curl a cross towards Aghahowa, but the Nigerian striker could only glance his header.

Aghahowa woe
Aghahowa's frustrating night continued in the 55th minute when he failed to beat the goalkeeper from deep inside the area with the goal at his mercy. With that miss Shakhtar's hopes seemed to be slipping away, with Laštuvka then forced to block well from Levan Kobiashvili.

Last word
Ailton almost snatched his second on 83 minutes, hitting the crossbar after Laštuvka had blocked his initial effort. But Shakhtar responded with one more sustained push, and Brandão finally gave them their reward to leave the tie perfectly balanced ahead of next week's second leg in Gelsenkirchen.

Goals: 7' Ailton (0-1); 86' Brandão (1-1)


Wednesday, February 16, 2005 

Austria - Athletic (Uefa Cup Preview)

FK Austria Wien have survived in UEFA competition until the spring for the first time in 20 years, but new general manager Toni Polster insists their ambition does not end there ahead of the match against Athletic Club Bilbao.

Polster positive
Although Austria have not played competitively since clinching a place in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup with a 2-1 win at FC Utrecht on 16 December, Polster does not feel that the prolonged rest will be a problem. "Our team seem to be like race horses who are waiting for their big day," he said. "We are not going into this match to lose. We are fresh, Bilbao have had some hard matches recently and they might be tired."

Kiesenebner misses out
The Austrian side are without midfield player Markus Kiesenebner due to a thigh problem, but otherwise have a full-strength squad. Günter Kronsteiner, the club's sports director, said: "We are a strong team. We have improved considerably in the last year, and we can give a Bilbao hard time. Our chances are 40-60 to get through."

Etxeberria confident
Athletic go into the match in similarly positive mood, with Joseba Etxeberria emphasising their confidence ahead of the visit to Vienna. "We will be going all out to win," said the Athletic forward. "That way a draw will be enough in the return. We are expecting Austria to attack us from the start - after all they are the home side. I just hope the playing surface has not suffered too much from the snow and icy temperatures."



Shakhtar - Shalke 04 (Uefa Cup Preview)

Mircea Lucescu is leaving nothing to chance as FC Shakhtar Donetsk meet an FC Schalke 04 team without two key Brazilians.

Cold conditions
Shakhtar coach Lucuescu leads his side in their first competitive game of 2005 after warm-weather camps in Spain and Turkey. However, with cold conditions forecast in Donetsk tonight, the Romanian has been concentrating on acclimatisation this week.

'Ready to play'
"We came to Donetsk specifically to have four or five days here before the match," said the coach, who has already inspected the pitch at the Olimpiyskiy stadium. "The team is working hard with great enthusiasm, despite unfavourable weather conditions. All the players are ready to play against Schalke."

Schalke danger
Lucescu, who is unlikely to select any of newly signed Brazilian trio Elano Blumer, Iván Saraiva and Jadson Rodriguez, is wary of a team joint-top of the Bundesliga. "We have analysed Schalke's game with the team for two days," he said. "Their style is Italian. They are dangerous on the ball, quick and know how to dictate the rhythm of the match. It will be important not to concede goals and to score in Donetsk."

Lincoln out
The home coach identified Lincoln as a danger, so may be relieved to hear that the Brazilian playmaker has stayed in Germany due to muscular problems along with compatriot Marcelo Bordon, who has a hamstring injury.Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick said: "I decided to let Lincoln stay at home because I do not want to risk a more serious injury."

Kristajic question
Bordon could be replaced by Mladen Kristajic as he has recovered from a respiratory illness. Rangnick said: "We will have to see if he is ready to start. Although I am not going to play him unless he is completely fit."


Monday, February 14, 2005 

Sp. Espinho 2-2 Estrela da Amadora

SP. ESPINHO: Tó Ferreira; Jojó, Paulo Rola, Rolão, Ricardo Correia; Nélson, Joel, Magano (César, 75'), Marco Cláudio; Carlos Manuel (Zacarias, 83'), André Cunha (Correia, 65').

EST. AMADORA: Veiga; Zamorano (João Moreira, 42'), Santamaria, Calos, Quim Berto; Adilson, Nelsinho, Hugo Machado; Davide (Rui Borges, 55'), Semedo, Bruno Mauro (Rómulo, 55').

GOALS: 1-0, André Cunha (23'); 2-0, Carlos Manuel (37'); 2-1, João Moreira (67'); 2-2, Rui Borges (82')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. P. Ferreira 21 42
2. Est. Amadora 21 40
3. Marco 21 37


Reggina 0-1 Milan

Milan came away from Reggina with a precious victory to keep the gap at the top of the table to two points. The Rossoneri were without the injured Andrea Pirlo so Massimo Ambrosini came into the centre of midfield while Marcos Cafu returned at right-back, leaving Paolo Maldini to partner Alessandro Nesta in the centre of defence. Andriy Shevchenko started in attack alongside Hernan Crespo.

Milan made a bright start and a long ball had Crespo racing through but goalkeeper Nicola Pavarini came out to clear the danger. Then Clarence Seedorf broke down the left flank and sent in a low cross which just evaded the incoming Crespo. On eight minutes, a late Alessandro Nesta tackle on Giandomenico Mesto produced the first yellow card of the evening. Reggina started to come into the game and on 17 minutes, Nelson Dida dived full-stretch to his left to make a one-handed save from a Giuseppe Colucci drive and was able to regain his footing to hold on to the ball as Emiliano Bonazzoli closed in. Then at the other end, Crespo hit his first-time shot wide of the post after the ball bounced around in the area.

Milan continued to create the clearer chances, with Kakhaber Kaladze receiving a neat pass from Kaka inside the area but the keeper pushed way the full-back’s near-post shot. Dida did well to get to a deep corner and punch the ball off the head of Ivan Franceschini at the back post. A slice of fortune on 39 minutes gave Milan the lead when Marco Zamboni mis-kicked a Seedorf through-ball over the head of his stranded goalkeeper and into the net. Kaka started to infuence proceedings and a wonderful run from the Brazilian to the edge of the Reggina area ended with Pavarini having to dive at Crespo’s feet to deny the second goal of the evening.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti made no changes at half time and almost immediately, Rino Gattuso drove into the area but the ball just ran away from the midfielder and out for a goal-kick. Seedorf followed that up with a snap-shot from the edge of the area which whistled past the post. Kaka received a yellow card for a tug on Mozart’s shirt and then Jaap Stam came on for Cafu as the Rossoneri looked to secure their advantage. The Dutch defender did find time to advance forward and played in a pass for Shevchenko whose angled shot was deflected over the bar. Ancelotti introduced Serginho for Crespo on 77 minutes and soon after Kaka led a three against one break from deep inside his own half but the final ball clipped the defender and Pavarini gathered. Kaka then made way for Manuel Rui Costa but Milan still had some defending to do as Dida stood firm to make a reflex save when the ball deflected off Bonazzoli’s thigh. Ambrosini was then booked as the home side pressed for the equaliser. However, the game ended with Serginho leading a five-man counter-attack but the Brazilian elected to attempt a chip which Pavarini saved.

REGGINA: Pavarini; Zamboni, De Rosa, Franceschini; Mesto (Nakamura, 59'), Paredes, Mozart (Borriello, 76'), Balestri, Tedesco, Colucci (Esteves, 84'); Bonazzoli.

MILAN: Dida; Cafu (Stam, 62'), Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze; Gattuso, Ambrosini, Seedorf; Kaka (Rui Costa, 81'); Crespo (Serginho, 76'), Shevchenko.

GOALS: 0-1, Zamboni (39'. og)


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Juventus 24 53
2. Milan 24 51
3. Internazionale 24 42
4. Udinese 24 40
5. Sampdoria 24 38


Athletic 4-4 Betis

ATHLETIC: Aranzubia; Iraola, Murillo, Prieto, Del Horno; Gurpegui, Tiko; Arriaga (Solabarrieta, 63'), Yeste (Guerrero, 86'), Ezquerro; Urzaiz.

BETIS: Doblas; Cañas, Juanito, Lembo, Luis Fernández; Arzu, Assuncao; Joaquín, Fernando (Benjamín, 19'), Edú; Oliveira.

GOALS: 0-1, Oliveira (4'); 0-2, Joaquín (11'); 0-3, Oliveira (23'); 1-3, Urzaiz (31'); 2-3, Urzaiz (33'); 3-3, Gurpegui (47'); 4-3, Yeste (70'); 4-4, Oliveira (81').


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Barcelona 23 54
2. Real Madrid 23 50
3. Sevilla 23 51
4. Valencia 23 38
5. Betis 23 38
9. Athletic 23 32


Botafogo 1-2 Americano

BOTAFOGO: Jefferson; César Prates, Scheidt, Juninho, Marquinhos; Túlio, Leandro Carvalho (Almir), Juca, Ramon (Guilherme); Alex Alves, Caio (Ricardinho).

AMERICANO: Erivélton; Sena, Ciro, Éder, Flávio Santos; Flavinho (Adriano Cela), Kim (Lucas), Edinho, Índio; Marcos Antônio (Washington), Butti.

GOALS: 0-1, Marcos Antônio (6'); 1-1, Alex Alves (81'); 1-2, Washington (83')


Botafogo 1-2 Americano
Cabofriense 0-2 Volta Redonda


Colón 2-3 River Plate

RIVER PLATE: Franco Costanzo; Carlos Diogo, Horacio Ameli, Eduardo Tuzzio, Federico Domínguez; Luis González, Cristian Ledesma (Jesus Méndez, 80'), Víctor Zapata; Marcelo Gallardo (Jairo Patiño, 76'); Gastón Fernández (José Sand, 80'), Ernesto Farías.

CÓLON: Laurenao Tombolini; Ariel Garcé, Daniel Díaz, Alcídes Píccoli (Gustavo Siviero, 70'), Alejandro Capurro; Martín Romagnoli, Iván Moreno y Fabianesi, Juan Vargas (Dário Gandín, 66'), Giovanni Hernández (Martín Bravo, 87'); Raúl Estévez, Juan Cominges.

GOALS: 0-2, Farías (18'); 0-2, Gónzalez (45'); 1-2, Díaz (47'); 2-2, Cominges (49'); 2-3, Domínguez (59')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Olimpo 1 3
2. Argentinos Jrs 1 3
3. Estudiantes LP 1 3
4. Gymnasia y Esgrima 1 3
5. River Plate 1 3


Hamburg SV 2 - 1 VfB Stuttgart

HSV soared up to seventh place in the Bundesliga following a 2-1 home win over high-flying VfB Stuttgart in round 21 on Saturday afternoon. HSV deserved to win after producing a solid performance in front of 47,000 in the AOL Arena. The visitors went in front on 15 minutes through a spectacular far post shot by Szabics. Two minutes later though, Sergej Barbarez scrambled home the HSV equaliser. A supreme header on 54 minutes by skipper Daniel van Buyten put the home side back in front and from then on HSV never looked back.

Benjamin for Wicky
The HSV coach Doll made only one change to the side which won so emphatically away to Nürnberg in round 20 (3-1). Collin Benjamin took his place in the starting line-up instead of Raphael Wicky, who has a nasal problem. On the Stuttgart side, Kuranyi failed a late fitness test, and Cacau was suspended. The former HSV player Babbel was dropped from the first team as was Heldt. Meira, Gerber and Tiffert replaced Babbel, Heldt and Kuranyi.

Surprise lead for the visitors
HSV started brightly enough, moving the ball around nicely, and pushing the visiting side back into their own half. It was surprising then that Stuttgart took the lead after 15 minutes as a superb pass by Tiffert into the path of the advancing Szabics, on the right hand side of the HSV box, was blasted home by the VfB striker leaving Pieckenhagen in the home goal no chance.

Lightning response
HSV didn’t let the Stuttgart goal unsettle them; in fact they pulled level within two minutes as Sergej Barbarez scrambled the ball home from two yards out after a mix up in the Stuttgart defence. Towards the end of the first half the game developed into a midfield battle, almost void of goalmouth incident. The game was level at 1-1 at the break.

Skipper puts HSV in driving seat
At the start of the second half Thomas Doll brought on striker Emile Mpenza for the defender Klingbeil. HSV remained on top and didn’t let the visitors settle. On 54 minutes HSV scored what turned out to be the winner, as a Mahdavikia free kick was headed home by the HSV skipper Daniel van Buyten from 8 metres out.

Dubious decision…
Five minutes later the VfB COACH Sammer could be seen going ape on the touchline. The reason was because Szabics appeared to be brought down by Pieckenhagen in the HSV penalty area. The whistle of the match referee Kemmling however, remained silent. The game became more heated and the tackles started to fly in.

Zivkovic sent off
On 73 minutes Stuttgart was down to ten men as Zivkovic was sent off for fouliong Tkahara. It was his second yeöllow card offence of the game. The referee showed Zivkovic the yellow/ red card, and the visitors struggled from that moment on. Stuttgart tried to pressure HSV with a late flurry of pressure, but there was no way past the superb HSV back line. So HSV reach 7th place, their best placing of the season. Thomas Doll’s side played the cleverer football and fully deserved their win.

HSV: Pieckenhagen - Schlicke, van Buyten, Boulahrouz, Klingbeil - Benjamin - Mahdavikia, Beinlich - Jarolim - Barbarez, Takahara

VfB Stuttgart: Hildebrand - Stranzl, Fernando Meira, Zivkovic - Hinkel, Soldo, H. Gerber - Tiffert, A. Hleb, Meißner - Szabics

Goals: 0:1 Szabics (15,) 1:1 Barbarez (17.), 2:1 van Buyten (54.)



Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Bayern 21 41
2. Schalke 21 41
3. Bremen 21 37
4. Hertha 21 36
5. Stuttgart 21 35
7. Hamburg SV 21 34


Braga 0 - 0 Benfica

The Portuguese SuperLiga continued to be the most open in Europe at the weekend with four teams - Sporting CP, Benfica SL, FC Porto and Boavista FC - all level at the top with 38 points from their 21 matches and SC Braga just a point behind on 37.

Porto and Benfica stumble
Sporting had the best result among the leaders with a comprehensive 5-0 win against Rio Ave FC while Boavista defeated CS Marítimo 3-2 at home. But reigning champions Porto stumbled with a 0-0 draw against Vitória SC, while Benfica also dropped points in another goalless draw at SC Braga.

BRAGA – Paulo Santos, Abel, Paulo Jorge, Nunes, Pedro Costa, Andrés Madrid, Vandinho, João Alves, Jaime (46', Cesinha), Wender (85', Baha) e João Tomás (79', Paulo Sérgio).

BENFICA – Quim, João Pereira, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha (31', Alcides), Dos Santos, Petit, Manuel Fernandes, Geovanni (85', Bruno Aguiar), Simão, Nuno Assis e Nuno Gomes (62', Delibasic).


Portuguese SuperLiga

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Porto 21 38
2. Sporting 21 38
3. Benfica 21 38
4. Boavista 21 38
5. Braga 21 37
10. Belenenses 21 28


AZ 0 - 0 PSV

PSV have maintained a two-point lead over AZ at the top of the Dutch league. The Eindhoven team withstood the AZ attack and was content with a 0-0 draw. AZ and PSV fought out a battle at a frantic pace in which neither team managed to break the deadlock. PSV have now collected 52 points from their 21 league games; AZ are still runners-up with 50 points.

It was a passionate and tempestuous affair in the Alkmaarder Hout, which reminded the crowd of a characteristically English game of football. From the very first moment both teams had their moments and the players were battling for every single loose ball. Much was at stake tonight in an entertaining, thrilling game of football. AZ piled up the pressure after the break, but PSV held out. The Eindhoven side threatened a few times and the final 0-0 score was after all a fair reflection of what had been going on.
Four minutes were on the clock when Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink smashed his first powerful effort on target. The tension was tremendous and no space was given away to any forward of either side.

PSV captain Mark van Bommel became the first player to be yellow carded, after he had committed a foul on his former team mate Adil Ramzi. Van Bommel will now serve a one-match ban and is consequently not available for the tie, at home against N.E.C next week Saturday night. Referee Braamhaar had his book out for Jan Kromkamp on twenty minutes and the AZ right full back will not make an appearance in next week?s fixture, either. Kromkamp and his opponent Jefferson Farfán were at each other for the full forty-five minutes in the first period. Farfán found it hard to contain the new international player in the initial stages, but the Peruvian winger soon made amends and started many runs down the left flank.

AZ were close to scoring the opening goal, when Tim de Cler unleashed a long-distance shot that went agonizingly wide off the post. André Ooijer headed home a few minutes later, but as he was in an off-side position the goal did not stand. PSV were dangerous a few times on the stroke of half time. Phillip Cocu whipped a shot from the turn that AZ keeper Timmer pushed away for a corner.

AZ poured forward with renewed purpose after the break. Young-Pyo Lee had to clear a ball almost immediately after the restart. The game continued in the same vein: there were challenges all over the pitch and both teams tried to attack. Van Bommel had a good effort saved by Timmer. AZ became the more dominating side and the Alkmaar side started many flowing moves. Tarik Sektioui was brought on and it nearly paid off for the hosts, but PSV keeper Gomes pulled off a super save to deny the AZ substitute. Guus Hiddink also made one change: DaMarcus Beasley came on to replace Farfán for the final fifteen minutes. Tension mounted, as it was quite obvious that the side that managed to score one goal would be the winner and be on top of the league.

AZ coach Co Adriaanse absolutely wanted a win and brought on two new players to reinvigorate his front-line, but when the final whistle went, the two teams had to settle for a goalless draw on a windy and tempestuous night.


Dutch First Division

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. PSV 21 52
2. AZ 21 50
3. Ajax 21 44
4. Feyenoord 21 38
5. Utrecht 21 35

Sunday, February 13, 2005 

Shalke 3-0 Wolfsburg

Two first half gaols by Gerald Asamoah (13.) and Ebbe Sand (35.), followed by a late strike by the young German international striker Mike Hanke (85.), inflicted the damage on a Wolves side which never looked capable of recovery. Symbolic for the way things are going for the Wolvess at the moment was surely the yellow-red card shown to Hans Sarpei after 76 minutes…

Several changes
Erik Gerets lost the services of Schnoor and Petrov for the visit to Gelsenkirchen, after both players picked up fifth yellow cards during the 2-3 home defeat against Werder Bremen in round 20. Diego Klimowicz replaced Topic in the starting line-up; the suspended duo was replaced by Fischer and Menseguez respectively.

Early storm

The home side attacked the Wolves from the off and created early chances for Vermant, who curled the ball onto the crossbar after only 7 minutes, and Asamoah, who fluffed a chance as he found himself one on one with Jentzsch a minute later. The early pressure by Schalke was to be rewarded after 13 minutes as Lincoln curled in an accurate free kick onto the head of Asamoah who headed unchallenged into the top corner to give the home side a deserved lead.

Invisible Wolves
Strangely, Schalke seemed to drop down a gear after going ahead, giving Wolfsburg the chance to press forward, which they did, but to no effect. A long distance effort by Karhan on 32 minutes was the only warning shot produced by the visiting side. Schalke piled on the pressure and went further ahead ten minutes before the break as Sand finished off good work by Lincoln, heading home (again unchallenged) from close range.

Jentzsch to the rescue
Schalke carried on their barrage of pressure after the break as Lincoln tested Jentzsch with a long distance shot. On 51 minutes, Schalke got a further chance to extend their lead as Pablo Thiam pulled down Lincoln inside the penalty area. Up stepped Ailton to take the spot kick, only to be denied by the Wolves keeper Jentzsch. Five minutes later Karhan had a rare chance to pull a goal back, but the Schalke keeper Rost kept his cool to clear his lines.

Sarpei sent off
Erik Gerets brought on Andres D’Alessandro after 61 minutes, but the Argentinean midfielder was unable to make an impression on the match. The sending off of Hans Sarpei on 75 minutes for a sill handball offence, only added insult to injury for the Wolves. The killer blow for the Wolves came five minutes from the end as Hanke rounded off superb approach work by Altintop and Kobiashvili.

SCHALKE: F. Rost - Oude Kamphuis, Waldoch, Rodriguez, Pander - Vermant, Kobiashvili - Lincoln - Asamoah, Sand, Ailton

WOLFSBURG: Jentzsch - Sarpei, Franz, Quiroga, Weiser - Thiam - Karhan, Fischer - Menseguez - Brdaric, Klimowicz

GOALS: 1-0, Asamoah (13.); 2-0, Sand (35.); 3-0, Hanke (85.)


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Bayern 20 41
2. Schalke 21 41
3. Bremen 21 37
4. Hertha 21 36
5. Stuttgart 21 35
10. Wolfsburg 21 30


Saturday, February 12, 2005 

Peñarol 4-1 Liga Deportiva (4-4 agg, Copa Libertadores)

Peñarol became a goal short of qualifying to the regular fase of the Copa Libertadores. After loosing 3-0 in Ecuador, the teams battled in Montevideo, and Peñarol needed to win by a four goal difference. Liga Deportiva scored first, and Peñarol managed to recover, with three goals in the second half, but not enough to secure qualifycation.

PEÑAROL: Federico Elduayen; Ronald Ramírez, Cristian González, Jean Jacques Pierre, Sebastián Varela (Martín Garcia, 45'); Fabián Césaro (Marcelo Tejera, 62'), Pablo Gaglianone, Gabriel Cedrés, Sergio Leal; Carlos Bueno, Cristian Rodríguez.

LIGA DEPORTIVA: Jacinto Espinoza; Néicer Reasco, Carlos Espínola, Giovanny Espinoza, Paul Ambrossi; Alfonso Obregón, Patricio Urrutia (Luis González , 46'), Alex Aguinaga, Edison Méndez; Elkin Murillo (Roberto Palacios, 64'), Gabriel García (Ariel Graziani, 72').

GOALS: 0-1, Mendéz (23'); 1-1, Obregón (26, og'); 2-1, Gaglianone (47'); 3-1, Jean Pierre; 4-1, Tejera (90').


Botafogo 2-1 Volta Redonda

BOTAFOGO: Jefferson; César Prates (Leandro Carvalho), Scheidt, Juninho, Marquinhos (Rogério Souza); Túlio, Juca, Ramon, Caio (Ricardinho); Alex Alves, Guilherme.

VOLTA REDONDA: Lugão; Schneider (Marcos Baiano), Aílson, Alemão, Maciel; Jonílson, Mário César, Haroldo, Gláuber; Humberto (Fábio), Túlio.

GOALS: 0-1, Túlio (43'); 1-1, César Prates (68'); 2-1, Juninho (79')

Group A

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Volta Redonda 5 10*
2. Botafogo 5 10*
3. Vasco da Gama 5 8

*Volta Redonda and Botafogo qualified for the semi-finals.

Friday, February 11, 2005 

Hamburg SV - VfB Stuttgart - Preview

On Saturday HSV take on high-flying VfB Stuttgart in the AOL Arena in round 21 of the Bundesliga. The side coached by Matthias Sammer are currently four places above and as many points ahead of the Hamburg club. The match looks like being one of the most attractive of round 21, as two attack-minded sides lock horns in front of what should be a 50,000 crowd in the wonderful AOL Arena.

HSV with their tails up
The home side have won six of their last eight games whereas Stuttgart has failed to win their last two. HSV lost the first meeting between the two sides 0-2 earlier in the season, but Sammer and his side know full well that they will face a completely different side on Saturday. Since taking charge, Thomas Doll has instilled new confidence into his players who now believe that they can beat any side on their day.

Hamburg at full strength, Stuttgart without Cacau
Coach Doll has the rare luxury of being able to pick his side from a full strength squad. Khalid Boulahrouz playe3d superbly in midweek in Holland’s 0-0 draw away to England, and experienced no further problems with the shoulder that had been troubling him during the past few weeks. Doll will pick exactly the same side which emphatically won 3-1 away to Nürnberg last time out. Stuttgart will be without their Brazilian striker Cacau, who is serving a one match suspension after picking up a fifth yellow card, during the 1-1 home draw against Kaiserslautern in round 21.

Nice to see you
HSV’s young midfielder Hleb will be trying especially hard in training this week. He would love to be brought on at some time on Saturday and pit his wits against his older brother who plays for Stuttgart. Thomas Doll said earlier in the week that his young German international striker Benny Lauth will not start the match, but could make an appearance later in the game. The HSV faithful will surely be calling for him on Saturday!

Babbel returns to Hamburg
Stuttgart will be bringing a former HSV favourite with them to the AOL Arena on Saturday. Much-travelled Markus Babbel returns to his old stomping ground, where he played 71 times for HSV (albeit in the old Volkspark stadium). He left HSV in 1994 for Bayern, where he went on to win just about every possible trophy in the game. From there he went to play for Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers.

Possible line-ups:

HSV: 1 Pieckenhagen - 2 Schlicke, 21 Boulahrouz, 5 van Buyten, 16 Klingbeil - 7 Mahdavikia, 6 Wicky, 22 Beinlich - 14 Jarolim - 10 Barbarez, 32 Takahara

Reserves: 23 Wächter (Gk), 4 B. Reinhardt, 8 Moreira, 11 Lauth, 13 L. Haas, 17 Donde, 18 Hampel, 19 Kucukovic, 20 A. Hleb, 24 Brecko, 25 Mpenza, 27 Laas, 28 Benjamin

VfB Stuttgart: 1 Hildebrand - 2 Hinkel, 3 Stranzl, 5 Babbel, 4 Zivkovic - 7 Meißner, 20 Soldo, 16 Heldt - 10 A. Hleb - 22 Kuranyi, 19 Szabics

Reserves: 23 Heinen (Gk), 31 Benaglio (Gk), 6 Fernando Meira, 8 Vranjes, 12 H. Gerber, 13 Tiffert, 17 Delpierre, 26 Caligiuri, 33 Gomez


Tuesday, February 08, 2005 

Thiam strengthens Wolfsburg ties

Midfielder Pablo Thiam has signed a new contract with VfL Wolfsburg tying him to the German Bundesliga club until 2008. "Pablo is an important player in the side and getting him on a long-term deal was the obvious thing to do," said manager Thomas Strunz. The 31-year-old Guinea-born player was previously under contract until summer 2006.



FC Internazionale - World Club Of The Month

The World's Club Team for the Month of January is FC Internazionale Milano ahead of Club Brugge KV. The Milanese achieved the highest number of points worldwide and remained unbeaten in the Serie A and "Coppa Italia" in January. "Inter" is unbeaten in 21 league matches.



Chelsea confirm Robben diagnosis

Chelsea FC hope to have Arjen Robben back in their side next month after confirming that the Dutch winger sustained two "tiny fractures" in his left foot during last week's Premiership victory at Blackburn Rovers FC.

Scan inconclusive
One of Chelsea's leading lights as they push for honours on four fronts this season, Robben scored the only goal after five minutes at Ewood Park, only to be substituted six minutes later following Aaron Mokoena's stern challenge. An initial scan proved inconclusive as the 21-year-old's foot was too swollen, although the club were finally able to perform a proper one yesterday.

Famous injury
Chelsea physiotherapist Mike Banks said of the broken bones: "One is a chip on the side of his foot, the other is a small break on the third metatarsal. But this is not the traditional metatarsal that has become so famous since the last [FIFA] World Cup and which has kept Scott Parker out for two months, the fractures are tiny and he could be playing next month."

'Massive blow'
Robben, who missed almost three months at the start of the campaign after breaking his foot in a pre-season friendly against AS Roma, said: "It's a massive blow and comes just at the moment when I was in top shape and very fit." He will definitely miss the English League Cup final against Liverpool FC on 27 February and both legs of the UEFA Champions League encounter against FC Barcelona.

Champions League draw
Should the Londoners progress, the quarter-finals are scheduled for 5/6 and 12/13 April. The draw for the last eight and semi-finals will take place on 18 March, ten days after the Spanish league leaders arrive at Stamford Bridge for the second leg of what promises to be a thrilling tie.



Anderlecht bid farewell to Broos

Hugo Broos has been sacked as coach of Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht, with his assistant Franky Vercauteren taking the reins.

Disappointing campaign
Anderlecht exited the UEFA Champions League group stage without picking up a point, are out of the Belgian Cup and lie 14 points behind Club Brugge KV in the Belgian First Division after yesterday's goalless draw at KAA Gent. That proved to be the 52-year-old Broos's last game in charge. The former R. Excelsior Mouscron, RWDM Molenbeek and Brugge coach was appointed in 2002 and masterminded last season's title triumph, being voted Belgium's coach of the year.

'Sad decision'
A club statement read: "Anderlecht stress their sadness at this decision, especially in light of the professional and prestigious work that Mr Broos has done here. Nor do we want to give the coach full responsibility for any problems. The club has taken this decision after intense deliberation in order to be able to achieve the results we expect. We wish Mr Broos success in his future career."

Season's target
Vercauteren, 48, was capped 63 times by Belgium and needs to ensure Anderlecht at least hold on to second place to earn another Champions League chance. His contract runs until summer 2008.



IFFHS Rankings

January's club of the month

FC Internazionale (ITA)

Club World Ranking

1. (2.) CA Boca Juniors (ARG)
2. (3.) Manchester United FC (ENG)
3. (8.) AS Monaco (FRA)
4. (1.) Valencia CF (SPA)
5. (7.) Santos FC(BRA)
8. (13.) Chelsea FC (ENG)
15. (10.) AC Milan (ITA)
16. (19.) FC Internazionale (ITA)
18. (21.) SL Benfica (POR)
19. (18.) Glasgow Celtic FC (SCO)
21. (22.) CA River Plate (ARG)
24. (27.) PSV Eindhoven (HOL)
27. (30.) Paris Saint-German FC (FRA)
45. (49.) Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)
49. (48.) FK Austria-Memphis (AUS)
51. (64.) Athletic Club Bilbao (SPA)
58. (47.) Olympiakos Pireas (GRE)
62. (61.) Shakhtjor Donetsk (UKR)
122. (112.) RSC Anderlecht (BEL)
215. (209.) Botafogo FR (BRA)
217. (211.) FC Utrecht (HOL)
238. (236.) Wisla Kraków (POL)
250. (270.) Hamburg SV (GER)
272. (261.) SK Slavia Praha (CZE)
282. (270.) Kispest-Honvéd FC (HUN)
331. (325.) VfL Wolfsburg (GER)


Monday, February 07, 2005 

Estrela Amadora 2-1 Gondomar

EST. AMADORA: Veiga; Quim Berto, Santamaria, Carlos, Zamorano (Rómulo, 56'); Hugo Machado, Pedro Simões (Davide, 66'), Nelsinho; Semedo, Henrique (João Moreira, 81'), Mauro Bruno.

GONDOMAR: Rui Marcos; Rómulo, Guedes, Miguel Vaz, Capitão; Hélio, Hugo (Micael, 61'), Cassio, Leando; Sozé (Amorim, 45'), Marco Cadete.

GOALS: 1-0, Hugo Machado (24'); 1-1, Hélio, (45'); 2-1, João Moreia (86')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. P. Ferreira 20 41
2. Est. Amadora 20 39
3. Marco 20 36


Milan 2-1 Lazio

Hernan Crespo scored a last-gasp winner to give Milan a 2-1 win over Lazio and close the gap at the top of the table to just two points.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti started Jaap Stam at right-back, with Marcos Cafu on the bench while Jon Dahl Tomasson and Crespo led the attack as Andriy Shevchenko was not risked from the start. Lazio came to defend from deep and Milan had plenty of the early possession although the first clear-cut chance did not come until 26 minutes when a fierce Clarence Seedorf shot from the edge of the area was punched away by goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi. Stam almost headed in an Andrea Pirlo corner but the visitors were dangerous on the break, with Massimo Oddo sending in a low cross which just went beyond the advancing Tommaso Rocchi. Kakha Kaladze got down the left flank to send in a difficult centre which was just cleared and on the stroke of half-time, Tomasson turned a bicycle-kick over the bar from a Crespo knock-down.

The game really came to life on 56 minutes as Lazio took a shock lead when Fabio Liverani played a through-ball over the top of the defence for Rocchi who was clipped on the chest inside the area by Stam’s out-stretched foot and the referee pointed to the spot. Oddo stepped up and although Dida got down to his left, the keeper could not keep the ball out. Ancelotti then introduced Shevchenko, Serginho and Cafu as the Rossoneri became encamped in the Lazio third of the pitch. Shevchenko hit a low volley across the face of the goal from the right side of the area but Crespo could not slide the ball into the empty net. However, the Ukrainian turned the game around on 76 minutes when he crashed home an unstoppable swerving free-kick from 30 metres which left Peruzzi totally stranded.

Milan continued to search for the winner and Cafu blazed a shot just over while Crespo almost reached a header from the Brazilian which travelled back across the area. As the game went deep into added-time, Kaka found space on the edge of the area and fired a low drive against the right-hand post but Crespo reacted quickly to side-foot home off the opposite upright and into the empty goal.

MILAN: Dida; Stam, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze (Serginho, 59'); Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Cafu, 62'); Kakà; Tomasson (Shevchenko, 57'), Crespo.

LAZIO: Peruzzi; Siviglia, Giannichedda, Couto; Oddo, A Filippini, Dabo, E Filippini, Cesar (Liverani, 32') (Seric, 59'); Pandev (Di Canio, 76'), Rocchi.

GOALS: 0-1, Oddo (56'. pen); 1-1, Shevchenko, (72'); 2-1, Crespo (94')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Juventus 23 50
2. AC Milan 23 48
3. Udinese 23 40
4. Internazionale 23 39
5. Sampdoria 23 38



Deportivo 1-1 Athletic

DEPORTIVO: Munúa; M. Pablo (Víctor, 57'), Coloccini, Andrade, Romero; Sergio, Duscher (Munitis, 79)'; Scaloni, Valerón, Luque; Tristán

ATHLETIC: Aranzubia; Murillo, Gurpegi, Luis Prieto, Casas; Solabarrieta, Orbaiz, Tiko, Yeste; Etxeberría (Del Horno, 87'), Llorente (Urzaiz, 62')

GOALS: 0-1, Orbaiz (51'); 1-1, Tristán, (86', pen)


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Barcelona 22 51
2. Real Madrid 22 47
3. Valencia 22 38
4. Sevilla 22 38
5. Villareal 22 37
9. Athletic 22 31


Friburguense 1-0 Botafogo

FRIBURGUENSE: Zé Romário; Sérgio Gomes, Cadão, Thiago Messias, Flavinho; Daniel, Gedeil, Marquinhos (Éder), Abedi; Ziquinha, Robinho (Jean).

BOTAFOGO: Jefferson; César Prates, Scheidt (Rafael Marques), Juninho, Marquinhos; Leandro Carvalho (Hugo), Túlio (Thiago Xavier), Caio, Ramon; Almir, Alex Alves.

GOAL: 1-0, Abedi (12')

Group A

Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Volta Redonda 4 10
2. Friburguebse 4 7
3. Botafogo 4 7
4. Vasco da Gama 4 5
5. América 4 2


Benfica 3 - 0 Academica

Benfica defeated A. Académica de Coimbra 3-0 at the Estádio da Luz. Geovanni broke the deadlock with a header on 32 minutes and Simão Sabrosa took his season's tally to 13 with goals at the start and end of the second period to keep Académica rooted to the foot of the table.

Benfica – Quim; João Pereira, Luisão, Ricardo Rocha e Dos Santos; Petit, Manuel Fernandes; Simão (cap.), Geovanni (70’ Carlitos) e Nuno Assis (84’ Karadas); Nuno Gomes (67’ Delibasic).

Académica – Pedro Roma; Nuno Luís (cap.), José António, José Castro e Vasco Faísca; Tixier (60’ Rafael Gaúcho), Roberto Brum e Hugo Leal (76’ Dionattan); Luciano, Kenedy (70’ Lira) e Marcel.

Goals: Geovanni (32’) e Simão (58’ e 81’).


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Porto 20 37
2. Benfica 20 37
3. Braga 20 36
4. Sporting 20 35
5. Boavista 19 34



Nürnberg 1 - 3 Hamburg SV

HSV won their Bundesliga round 20 match away to Nürnbereg 3-1 on Saturday afternoon. A crowd of 30,000 saw a brace of goals by Naohiro Takahara and a late strike by Benny Lauth bring home the bacon for coach Thomas Doll’s side. HSV now moves up to 7th place in the Bundesliga table and nicely poised to go for the European places near the top of the table.

Surprise changes
The HSV coach Doll made three changes to the side which beat Mainz 2-1 at home in round 19. Boulahrouz came in for Reinhardt, Jarolim returned from suspension and took the place of Moreira in midfield. The biggest surprise for the hordes of HSV fans that made the trip was the inclusion of Takahara in the starting line-up instead of Mpenza.

Initial stalemate
Beautiful sunshine greeted both sides as they took to the pitch in the Frankenstadion, and both sides made a bright start to the match. The home side pushed forward as did HSV. Both sides failed to produce a telling pass at first, so it took until the 19th minute for any goalmouth action to occur. Banovic fired in a well struck free kick, which Pieckenhagen was grateful to see clear his bar by inches

Taka on target!
The home side suffered an injury blow, as their striker Schroth was forced to go off halfway through the first half. HSV began to take control of the match and on 31 minutes Sergej Barbarez hit a superb cross field ball which Takahara controlled well on his chest before firing in a fine left foot shot to give the Hamburg side the lead.

Piecke unemployed!
The home side tried their best to have a go but never managed to trouble Pieckenhagen before half time, apart from a wayward effort by Wagefeld, which went wide. Both sides came out unchanged for the start of the second half and the crowd saw HSV take control once again. The visiting side seemed content to have possession and sit back and wait for Nürnberg to come at them. That gave HSV the chance to counter attack.

Taka makes it 2-0
A long clearance from the edge of his own area by Wicky on 53 minutes fell into the path of Takahara, who strode past Hajto before drawing the Nürnberg keeper Klewer and slotting home right footed and double his side’s lead. The Nippon striker could have had a hat trick but a superb diving header on 56 minutes flew inches past the post.

Late consolation goal
Ass skipper Daniel van Buyten was off the pitch receiving treatment for a head wound, Hajto put a long throw in into the HSV box where it caused confusion among the visiting defence. Vittek somehow managed to somehow get a touch on the ball to pull a goal back for Nürnberg on 82 minutes. Five minutes later, second half substitute Benny Lauth was forced to clear off his own line as the home side threatened.

Benny likes playing Nürnberg..!
In the last minute of the match Emile Mpenza fluffed a chance while in space in front of the home keeper. Benny Lauth went one better in the second minute of injury time, as HSV counter attacked through Mpenza and Lauth. The Belgian striker unselfishly passed square to the better positioned Lauth, who scored his third goal in as many appearances for his new club. On his Bundesliga debut against Nürnberg in the AOL Arena during the first half of the season, it was Lauth who came on late and scored a dramatic winner.

Things ticking along nicely
The win in round 20 takes HSV up to 7th in the Bundesliga table, while Nürnberg can not allow themselves to feel by any means safe…

Nürnberg: Klewer - Wolf, Hajto, Nikl, Müller - Wagefeld, Lagerblom, Banovic (57.Kießling), Mintal - Daun (61.Ketelaer), Schroth, (21.Vittek)

HSV: Pieckenhagen - Schlicke, van Buyten, Boulahrouz, Klingbeil - Wicky (57.Benjamin), Mahdavikia (83.Lauth), Beinlich, Jarolim - Barbarez, Takahara (77.Mpenza)

Goals: 0:1 Takahara (31.), 0:2 Takahara (53.), 1:2 Vittek (82.), 1:3 Lauth (90.)



Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Bayern 20 41
2. Schalke 20 38
3. Stuttgart 20 35
4. Bremen 20 34
5. Hertha 20 33
7. Hamburg SV 31
9. Wolfsburg 20 30

Sunday, February 06, 2005 

Wolfsburg 2-3 Werder Bremen

The Wolves lost their third successive match since the winter break, as they went down 2-3 against Werder Bremen in front of 28, 000 in the VOLKSWAGENARENA on Sunday evening. The Wolves were put under pressured by the reigning Bundesliga champions from the start, and the first chance of the match fell to Werder’s German international striker Klose after only 2 minutes. It was at first plain to see that coach Erik Gerets’ injury depleted side were nervous as they easily gave possession away.

Wolfsburg improve
It took the home side 15 minutes to find their feet and begin to have an impact on the game. The danger from the home side usually involved their lightning quick Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov, who had some real scraps with Werder’s Canadian defender Paul Stalteri.

Superb opening goal
Wolfsburg took the lead on 26 minutes as Quiroga cleared ahead of Borowski and immediately brought Petrov into play. The Bulgarian ghosted past Stalteri before delivering a pinpoint cross onto the head of the advancing Thomas Brdaric who powered in a close range header to put his side in front. For Brdaric, who has been excluded from the Germany squad to face Argentina in Düsseldorf on Wednesday evening, it was his 9th goal of the season. Nothing much happened after that and so the Wolves went into the half time break with a slender one goal lead.

Thiam makes it 2-0
The Wolves got a dream start after the half time break. On 49 minutes Thiam received the ball in acres of space in midfield, and passed to Petrov on the left wing. Once again he passed Stalteri and crossed into the Bremen box, where Thiam was waiting to finish off the move he had started by gleefully heading home his side’s second goal, leaving Reike in the Werder goal no chance whatsoever.

Werder strike back
Seconds later the champions struck back, as a long ball by Stalteri found Klose who won a battle with Quiroga before nodding the ball home from close range. Werder had now smelt blood so to speak and began to put the home side under periods of intense pressure. On 59 minutes, the visitors won their 9th corner of the match. The ball came to Stalteri who passed to Magnin on the edge of the Wolfsburg box. The Frenchman tried his luck from 23 metres out and an unsighted new Wolves captain Simon Jentzsch was powerless as the ball flew past him for the Werder equaliser.

Jentzsch in top form
Werder got the wind in their sails and began pressing towards the Wolfsburg goal, with Klose in particular causing havoc at the back. On 77 minutes a goal-bound header by Klose was somehow kept out by Jentzsch who produced a string of stunning saves to keep Bremen at bay.

Valdez does it again…
Three minutes from time, not even the heroics of their keeper could salvage a point from the round 20 clash for the Wolves, although they nearly did. A shot was only parried into the path of Klose by Jentzsch, and the Bremen goal getter unselfishly put in a delicate cross into the Wolves’ six yard box where the second half substitute Valdez was waiting to score with a header from close range and in doing so, break the Wolfsburg hearts. As if defeat was not enough, Martin Petrov picked up his fifth yellow card and will miss the mega-tough trip to Schalke in round 21.

Werder is back in business, the Wolves have a problem…

WOLFSBURG: Jentzsch; Sarpei (89. Maric), Franz, Quiroga, Weiser; Schnoor; Karhan, Thiam; Petrov; Topic (Fischer 72.), Brdaric

WERDER BREMEN: Reinke; Pasanen, Baumann (52. Jensen), Fahrenhorst (66. Schulz), Stalteri; Borowski, Ernst, Magnin; Micoud; Klose, Klasnic (75. Valdez)

GOALS: 1-0, Brdaric (26'); 2-0, Thiam (49'); 2-1, Klose (50'); 2-2, Magnin (59'); 2-3, Valdez (87')


Pos. Team Pld Pts
1. Bayern 20 41
2. Schalke 20 38
3. Stuttgart 20 35
4. Bremen 20 34
5. Hertha 20 33
9. Wolfsburg 20 31


Thursday, February 03, 2005 

PSV 4 - 1 RBC Roosendaal

PSV have restored a five-point lead at the top of the Holland Casino Eredivisie, after they claimed a 4-1 win over RBC Roosendaal in the Eindhoven Philips Stadium. PSV scored four goals for the fourth game in a row and RBC were reduced to ten men.
Roland van der Hilst was a relatively unknown referee until this evening. But after tonight he will undoubtedly be remembered as the referee that marked his debut by awarding the hosts as many as four penalties.

RBC keeper Maikel Aerts saved the two first half spot kicks, taken by Mark van Bommel and André Ooijer. After the break the PSV captain made amends by converting his second penalty and top scorer Jan Vennegoor took his tally to thirteen goals by also converting from the spot. Mark van Bommel and John de Jong scored 'normal' goals in between in an action-packed game that was played on a slippery pitch.

There was a 30, 200 gate and the crowd witnessed a very remarkable game of football indeed on a rainy night. For the first time since 1998 a referee awarded four penalty kicks. PSV dominated the game from start to finish and wasted a great many chances.
PSV earned their first penalty on fifteen minutes. While a corner was taken, John de Jong was held by Donny de Groot. Mark van Bommel did not get his name on the scoring sheet yet, as Maikel Aerts stopped his weak effort. The PSV captain curled a trade-mark free kick just wide of the post minutes later.

On 36e minutes PSV were allowed to take their second spot kick. Defender Tyrone Loran hacked down Ji-Sung Park, after which André Ooijer reported for duty. His effort, just as weak as Van Bommel's, gave Aerts no problem. The crowd took a deep breath, but the fans knew that things would be all right after all, as RBC had not threatened once. The visitors marked the PSV forwards well, but needed many fouls to do so.

The turning point of the game took place on five minutes after the break. DaMarcus Beasley was fouled by Melvin Fleur, who was shown his second yellow card and was consequently dismissed. Van der Hilst controversially awarded a third penalty. Van Bommel proved to be a genuine captain and did not shirk his responsibility and he blasted home; 1-0. He was not satisfied yet and got square by powering home a fine
Beasley cross past Aerts on 58 minutes. The match was virtually over and PSV continued to attack. Jefferson Farfán had been on the pitch as a substitute for barely one minute when he blazed the ball just over the bar and Wilfred Bouma rattled the bar from a long distance effort.

Fifteen minutes from final time another tumultuous spell was started. PSV keeper Gomes pushed a ball straight at Danny Guijt, who took advantage of the defensive howler; 2-1. A few minutes later it was ‘Van der Hilst time’ again. He had seen how a RBC defender had incorrectly tackled Mark van Bommel in the box. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was invited to take his first penalty kick in his career and the tall striker calmly finished; 3-1. John de Jong made it 4-1, following a clever Beasley dummy.

PSV will travel to AZ in ten days; the fans may need that time to discuss the bizarre home game against RBC!


Tuesday, February 01, 2005 

PSV loan Vonlanthen to Brescia

Serie A side Brescia Calcio have signed Swiss international striker Johan Vonlanthen on loan from PSV Eindhoven until the end of the season.

Many happy returns
Vonlanthen, who celebrates his 19th birthday today, impressed at UEFA EURO 2004™, becoming the youngest scorer in a UEFA European Championship finals when he struck against France aged 18 years and 141 days. He will help Brescia in their fight against relegation as they lie second from bottom with 19 points from 21 games.

European experience
The centre-forward began his career with Swiss club BSC Young Boys. He was signed by PSV in November 2002 but moved to the Dutch side only last summer. This season he appeared twice as a substitute in the UEFA Champions League group stage.



Elano lands at Shakhtar

FC Shakhtar Donetsk have made their third Brazilian signing of the winter break with a €7.6m swoop for Santos FC playmaker Elano Blumer.

Five-year deal
The 23-year-old international has agreed a five-year contract with the Ukrainian club and will link up with countrymen Jadson and Iván Saraiva, who moved to Shakhtar last month. Both Elano, who had captured the interest of Europe's leading clubs, and Jadson were included in the Brazilian league's team of the year for 2004.

Title success
Elano, who also played for Guarani FC and SC Internacional, helped Santos win two Brazilian titles, scoring 33 goals in 131 games for the club. He represented his country at the Olympic Games and claimed his first full cap in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Colombia last October.



Delibasic signs for Benfica

Serbo-Montenegrin striker Andrija Delibasic has joined SL Benfica on loan from RCD Mallorca until the end of the season.

Year in Spain
The 23-year-old forward moved to Spain in January last year and scored four goals in 14 Primera División starts for Mallorca in 2003/04. However, although he has managed three goals in five league starts this season, his opportunities have been limited under new Mallorca coach Héctor Cúper.

Scoring target
"Playing for Benfica is the same as playing for Real Madrid [CF] or [FC] Barcelona," Deslibasic said on his arrival in Lisbon. "I am a goalscorer and I hope to do a lot of that here." Before joining Mallorca Delibasic spent four years with Partizan, where he scored 47 goals in 100 league matches - and also found the net against two of Benfica's biggest rivals, FC Porto in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League and Sporting CFP in the previous year's UEFA Cup competition.



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