Friday, July 29, 2005 

Sigma Olmütz 0 - 1 Hamburg SV (Intertoto Cup)

A 49th minute goal by Dutch new signing Rafael van der Vaart gave HSV a superb first leg lead in their Intertoto Cup semi-final away to the Czech Republic side Sigma Olmütz on Wednesday evening. A sell-out crowd of 12,059 in the Andruv-stadium saw the Bundesliga side on top for most of the game. Next Wednesday (03.08.07, kick off 8.00 pm), HSV will have a golden opportunity to move into the final as they face the Czechs at home in the AOL Arena. Belgian striker Emile Mpenza had several good chances in Olmüz, but failed to convert any of them…

Skipper on board
Coach Thomas Doll had to do without his suspended new signing Guy Demel for the trip to Olmütz, but was gratified by the news that his skipper Daniel van Buyten had recovered in time from a toe infection fort he first leg tie. As expected, the Czech-born midfielder David Jarolim played instead of youngster Piotr Trochowski.

HSV on top
HSV took a hold on the game early on, and had the home side on the back foot right away. Emile Mpenza went close with two headers within the first 6 minutes. The home side was unable to make their mark on the game, apart from a 19th minute effort by their Brazilian midfielder Melinho. Although on top, HSV was unable to capitalise on the lion’s share of possession and turn it into goals during the first half. On 24 minutes, Sergej Barbarez had the best chance of the half, but he miss-hit his effort which was then easily cleared by the Olmüz keeper.

Dream goal by van der Vaart
HSV was finally rewarded for their superiority on 49 minutes, as their Dutch midfield ace Rafael van der Vaart took the ball to the edge of the Olmüz area, from where he looked up, before curling a superb shot into the top right hand corner of the Olmüz net with their keeper watching in admiration. Six minutes later, Mpenza was unlucky to see his shot come back off a post after a wonderful through pass by Barbarez. Thomas Doll will have been pleased by his side’s defensive performance, van Buyten, Khalid Boulahrouz and Co. were watertight at the back.

Doll: “My lads battled well” After going in front, HSV concentrated on keeping their precious lead and did so in a dominant manner. Now they can eagerly look forward to the second leg with an away goal in their pocket. A place in the Intertoto Cup final is on the cards for HSV. After the game, Dolly was understandably happy with the way things went: "We knew it would be a tough game. But my lads battled well and deserved their win. We were easily the better side on the night", said the HSV coach.

Sigma Olmütz: Blaha - Hubnik (37.Kopecky), Kovar, Pecnik, Hudec - Randa - Onofrej, Vacek, Babnic, Melinho - Rojka (57.Bednar)

HSV: Wächter - Klingbeil, van Buyten, Boulahrouz, Atouba - Wicky (89.Karl), Jarolim, Beinlich, van der Vaart - Mpenza (73.Lauth), Barbarez

Goals: 0:1 Van der Vaart (49.)


Tuesday, July 26, 2005 

Benny Feilhaber has joined Hamburg

Hamburger SV have completed the signing of United States Under-20 international Benny Feilhaber.

Three-year deal
The 20-year-old midfielder, who previously played college football for UCLA Bruins, sealed the switch after agreeing a three-year contract. Feilhaber impressed Hamburg during the recent FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands, where the US reached the Round of 16.

Sigma semi-final
The youngster could be given an early chance to underline his potential in the UEFA Intertoto Cup. The Bundesliga side completed a 3-0 aggregate victory against Portuguese outfit UD Leiria on Saturday to set up a semi-final against SK Sigma Olomouc. The first leg will be played in the Czech Republic on Wednesday.


Monday, July 25, 2005 

Hamburg SV 2 - 0 U. Leiria (Intertoto Cup)

A penalty kick on 50 minutes by Sergej Barbarez followed by a spectacular strike by second half substitute Benny Lauth on 76 minutes, did the business for HSV, as they progressed to the semi-finals of the Intertoto Cup by way of a 2-0 home win over the Portuguese side Uniao Leiria, in front of 22,000 in the AOL Arena in Hamburg.

As you were Dolly
Following his side’s 1-0 win in the first leg tie in Portugal, HSV coach Thomas Doll saw no reason to change a winning team, and opted for the same line-up which did the business last time out. That meant that there were three new faces in the team: Atouba, Demel and van der Vaart all made their home debuts for HSV, with mixed fortunes…

Three out, three in
Doll’s Portuguese counterpart Teixeira Gomes made three changes to the side which lost 0-1 to HSV last week. Laranjeiro, Kata and Cadu were replaced by Paulo Cesar, Eder and Mario Carlos in his starting line-up. The sums were simple ahead of the second leg tie. HSV only needed a draw to go through, while only a win would do for Leiria.

Yellow fever
The game turned out to be a bruising affair, as had been the case in the first leg. The match referee Briakos produced no less than 8 yellow cards over the 90 minutes. Guy Demel, who had a disappointing debut and was replaced by Wicky at the start of the second half, was booked and will miss the first leg of the semi-final against Sigma Olomouc, who knocked Borussia Dortmund out by drawing 0-0 in their second leg clash.

Early scare
On 7 minutes, HSV can count themselves lucky not to have gone behind, as a collective snooze at the back by the home side allowed the Leiria striker Maciel a free header. He rushed his effort and headed wide as it looked easier to score. The visiting side was more aggressive and didn’t give HSV time to settle for the first 15 minutes or so. There were early half-chances for van der Vaart (6.) and a shot from the edge of the box by Mpenza. Both efforts missed the target.

Leiria always dangerous…
The visitors maintained the pressure on the home side and Maciel just failed to convert a pinpoint pass by Alhandra. Moments later the little Brazilian missed a good chance from 15 metres out. HSV could consider themselves fortunate to go into the half time break still in the game.

Sergej from the spot
HSV came out fort he second half in a determined mood and they were rewarded for their aggression on 48 minutes as Alhandra clearly brought down the-advancing Mpenza inside the box. The resulting spot kick was put away by Barbarez as the Bosnian-born striker sent Costinha in the Leiria goal the wrong way. To their credit, the Portuguese side didn’t give up. In fact, they could have equalised just a minute after the home side had gone in front, as Joao Paulo rose above the HSV defence only to watch his header go agonisingly wide.

Changes do the trick
The introduction of Wicky (for Demel) and Jarolim (for van der Vaart and Benny Lauth (for the disappointing Trochowski) swung the game in HSV’s favour. The experienced duo brought a measure of stability to their side’s play, and Lauth scored what turned out to be the deciding goal on 76 minutes, as he duped the Leiria keeper who thought he was going to cross, but instead shot from 25 metres out on the left, leaving the keeper groping at air. The game was all over bar the shouting at that point. On the balance of an improved second half performance, HSV just about deserved to go through…

HSV: Wächter - Klingbeil, Boulahrouz, van Buyten, Atouba - Trochowski, Demel, Beinlich - van der Vaart - Mpenza, Barbarez

Uniao Leiria: Costinha - Paulo Cesar, Joao Paulo, Renato, Alhandra - Paulo Gomes, Eder, Fabio Felicio, Nene - Maciel, Mario Carlos

Goals:1:0 Barbarez (50., pen), 2:0 Lauth (76.,)


Wednesday, July 20, 2005 

Appiah aiming high at Fenerbahçe

Turkish champions Fenerbahçe SK have landed Ghanaian midfielder Stephen Appiah in an €8m transfer from Juventus FC.

Serie A success
The length of Appiah's contract in Istanbul has not been revealed. The 24-year-old Accra-born player spent two seasons with the Italian champions, but was deemed surplus to requirements once the club signed Patrick Vieira last week. In all, Appiah made 48 league appearances for Juve, scoring three goals.

Plenty of experience
Prior to joining Juventus, Appiah played 36 matches in three years at Udinese Calcio before moving to Parma FC in 2000. After a two-year spell, he was loaned to Brescia Calcio where he appeared 31 times in the 2002/03 campaign, his most productive Italian season.

Friendly advice
Appiah said: "Before accepting the offer, I took the advice of friends who had played in Turkey. It will be a pleasure to continue my career here." He becomes the second summer signing at Fenerbahçe after goalkeeper Serdar Kulbilge arrived from Bursaspor.

Rüstü deal
The club are also set to finalise the future of Turkey No1 Rüstü Reçber, after offering him a new two-year deal. Fenerbahçe begin their UEFA Champions League campaign in the first group stage on 13/14 September.


Monday, July 18, 2005 

HSV win in Leiria!

Hamburger SV and FK Žalgiris Vilnius claimed first-leg advantages away from home, as the UEFA Intertoto Cup third round got under way on Saturday.

Trochowski decisive
Hamburg ensured UD Leiria made a losing start to their Intertoto campaign after winning 1-0 in Portugal. Midfielder Piotr Trochowski struck the only goal of the game just before the hour mark to give the Bundesliga side a potentially crucial away goal going into the second leg at the AOL Arena.

Uniao Leiria: 73 Costinha - 25 Laranjeiro, 23 Andrade, 17 Assuncao, 14 Joaquin - 5 Gomes (60. Ferreira), 16 Da Cunna, 21 Miranda, 18 Felicio (75. Silva) - 22 Silva (49. Rosa), 19 Cunna.

HSV: 1 Wächter - 16 Klingbeil, 5 van Buyten, 21 Boulahrouz, 3 Atouba (63. Schmidt) - 20 Demel, 15 Trochowski, 22 Beinlich - 23 van der Vaart - 10 Barbarez (63. Takahara), 25 Mpenza (76. Lauth).

Goals: 0:1 Trochowski (58.)


Wednesday, July 13, 2005 

Hamburg SV sign Timothee Atouba

HSV has reached agreement with the London-based English Premier League club Tottenham, on a deal which takes the 23 year old Cameroon international Timothee Atouba to HSV. The player had been on the wanted list of the HSV coach Thomas Doll for some time. Adouba will play on the left side of defence where René Klingbeil played last season.

Loose ends
The 23 year old, who is expected to sign a four year deal at the Bundesliga club, passed a medical check-up while visiting Hamburg on Tuesday (12-7-05). There were also outstanding contract details which were cleared up on the same day. Borth clubs declined to name the transfer fee involved, but t is believed to be in the region of 2,5 million Euros.

Bye bye Gauchos
It is believed that the deal was made possible by the removal from the HSV payroll of the Argentinean duo Christian Ledesma (loaned out to Racing Club Buenos Aires) and Bernado Romeo, who is expected to sign for the Spanish outfit Osasuna Pamplona soon.

Solitary goal
Atouba joined Tottenham from the Swiss club Basel in summer 2004. He won two league championships in Switzerland. Before that he spent two years at Xamax Neuchatel. Atouba never really made his mark at the London club, playing only 18 times for them last season, scoring one goal in the process.



Pancaro plumps for Fiorentina

ACF Fiorentina have continued to strengthen their squad with the signing of former Italy defender Giuseppe Pancaro.

Two-year deal
Pancaro has agreed a two-year contract at the Stadio Artemio Franchi after being released by UEFA Champions League runners-up AC Milan at the end of last season. The 33-year-old becomes new coach Cesare Prandelli's third recruit following the loan arrivals of Valencia CF midfielder Stefano Fiore and goalkeeper Sébastien Frey from Parma FC.

Lupatelli leaves
While Frey moves to Florence, Fiorentina custodian Cristiano Lupatelli travels in the opposite direction. The 27-year-old former AS Roma and AC Chievo Verona No1 has joined the Gialloblù on a season's loan with the option of a permanent deal.



No-nonsense Neftchi in control (Neftchi 2 - Hafnarfjördur 0)

George Adamia in action for Neftchi

Azerbaijani club PFC Neftchi edged closer to a meeting with RSC Anderlecht by defeating FH Hafnarfjördur 2-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round in Baku.

Goals from Agil Mammadov and Tomislav Mishura gave Neftchi a healthy lead to take into next Wednesday's second leg in Iceland. Despite having maximum points from their opening ten Icelandic Premier League fixtures this season, Hafnarfjördur struggled in the heat and will now have to score at least twice next week to keep alive dreams of a two-legged second round encounter with Belgian giants Anderlecht.

After a tight opening 20 minutes, it was 33-year-old midfield player Mammadov who broke the deadlock for the home team. But it looked as though the tie might be in the balance until 24-year-old striker Mishura doubled Neftchi's lead in the last minute of the game.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005 

Fiore accepts Viola overtures

ACF Fiorentina have agreed a season-long loan deal for Valencia FC midfield player Stefano Fiore, with the option to sign him on a permanent basis next summer.

'Great opportunity'
The Italian international goes back to Serie A after a disappointing year in Spain and is seeking a return to form ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. "I'm fully motivated after the bad season I had at Valencia," Fiore said. "Just speaking to [Fiorentina coach] Cesare Prandelli on the phone was enough to convince me to make the move. It's a great opportunity for me."

Following Frey
Fiore, who made his debut for Italy in February 2000 and was an integral part of the Azzurri side at UEFA EURO 2000™ and UEFA EURO 2004™, has previous Serie A experience at Udinese Calcio and S.S. Lazio. He becomes Prandelli's second major loan signing of the summer following the arrival of goalkeeper Sébastien Frey from Parma FC.


Sunday, July 03, 2005 

Cluj 1-0 Athletic

Romania international Dorinel Munteanu celebrated a memorable victory in his first game as player-coach of CFR Cluj as the Romanian side defeated Athletic Club Bilbao 1-0 in the first leg of their second round UEFA Intertoto Cup tie with the Primera División side on Saturday.

Tinca winner
The 37-year-old played the full 90 minutes as Cluj claimed victory thanks to Cosmin Tilinca’s 36th-minute header. Athletic, fielding an understrength side, had the chance to pull level from the penalty spot, but Cluj goalkeeper Petru Turcas saved Javi González’s spot-kick.



Wisla ring the changes

Wisla Kraków have appointed a new coach, president and club board to signal their intent to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Engel replaces Liczka
The new man in charge is 52-year-old Jerzy Engel, who coached Poland to the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals and has since been sporting director at Legia Warszawa and KSP Polonia Warszawa. He succeeds Werner Liczka, 50, who in six months at the helm led Wisla to the Polish title, finishing eleven points clear at the top. However, club owner Boguslaw Cupial decided to dismiss the Czech trainer after a 5-1 defeat by Legia and Polish Cup semi-final loss to Zaglebie Lubin.

'Need new players'
Engel, who may lose star striker Maciej Zurawski to a richer foreign side, said after signing a three-year contract: "We need new players to strengthen the team. We are thinking about defending the title and finally getting into the Champions League group stage, but because we don't have much time, it will not be easy."

Kapka takes helm
Meanwhile, former player Zdzislaw Kapka has taken over as club president on a temporary basis following the resignation after seven months in charge of Janusz Basalaj, whose brother Bogdan has stepped down as executive director. Board chairman Hubert Praski is leaving too, with his place being taken by Frenchman Bertrand Le Guern. Ludwig Mieta-Mikolajewicz will become vice-chairman.

Kwiek sale
Wisla have also sold 22-year-old midfielder Aleksander Kwiek to top-flight newcomers Kolporter Korona Kielce for an undisclosed fee. Wisla's Champions League campaign begins in August's third qualifying round.



Kaladze 'very happy' with Milan deal

Georgia defender Kakha Kaladze has renewed his contract with UEFA Champions League runners-up AC Milan until 2010.

No Chelsea agreement
With Kaladze's previous deal due to expire in 2006, the 27-year-old seemed to be on the verge of joining Chelsea FC earlier this month but the two clubs failed to reach agreement over his transfer fee.

'Very happy'
"I am a bit disappointed with the way the negotiations with Chelsea went," Kaladze said. "However, I am a Milan player and certainly I cannot complain about my current situation. I did not play as much as I wanted last season but I am very happy with this new contract."

Champions League winner
Kaladze moved to Milan in 2001 when the Rossoneri paid €16m to sign him from Ukrainian side FC Dynamo Kyiv. With Milan, the former FC Dinamo Tbilisi left-back won the European Champion Clubs' Cup and Coppa Italia in 2002/03 and the Scudetto the following campaign. Last season he played 19 Serie A matches and five in the Champions League.



Aliadière grateful for Celtic chance

Celtic FC have signed Arsenal FC striker Jérémie Aliadière on loan for next season.

Second signing
The former French Under-21 international passed a medical yesterday and becomes Gordon Strachan's second recruit since replacing Martin O'Neill as manager, following the arrival of Guinea defender Mohamed Camara on 10 June.

'Big factor'
"The [UEFA] Champions League was a big factor in choosing Celtic," Aliadière said. "Everybody knows the Champions League is the competition everybody wants to play in, and it would be good if I could help Celtic make an impact."

Injury problems
Aliadière has scored one goal in 18 Premiership games with Arsenal, whom he joined in 2001. The youngster made six substitute appearances last season after recovering from a knee ligament injury.

Beattie deal
On Friday, Celtic also confirmed that 21-year-old forward Craig Beattie had put pen to paper on a new three-year deal. Midfield player Neil Lennon also signed a new one-year contract earlier this week and will captain the side.

Waiting game
Celtic will enter the Champions League in the second qualifying round after finishing second in the Scottish Premier League. They will play the winner of the first qualifying round tie between FC Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan and Slovakia's FC Artmedia Bratislava on 26/27 July and 2/3 August.



Wolfsburg 2-2 Sturm Graz (Intertoto Cup)

VfL Wolfsburg made an unfortunate start to their Intertoto Cup campaign on Saturday, as they only managed a 2-2 second round first leg home draw against the Austrian first division club Sturm Graz. It was the first game in charge for the new Wolves coach Holger Fach. Wolfsburg will have it all to do in the second leg tie next Saturday, which will be played in the Arnold-Schwarzenegger stadium in Graz. The Wolfsburg goals were scored by Miroslav Karhan (50.) and Andres d'Alessandro (53.).

Goalless first half
A small crowd in the VFL stadium saw a goalless first half, with both sides watching each other closely. On 50 minutes however, the deadlock was broken by Wolfsburg’s Miroslav Karhan. A minute later the visiting side drew level thanks to a goal by Bojan Filipovic. The Wolves found the perfect reply as only two minutes later Andres D’Alessandro put the home side in front once again. The former Bayer Leverkusen player Adam Ledwon was sent off halfway during the second half, after picking up a second yellow card.

Tough task ahead
The Wolves were unable to capitalise on their man advantage, in fact they leaked an 80 minute equaliser through David Mujiri. So the Wolves will have a battle on their hands in Graz on Saturday. They will be hoping to avoid the Intertoto Cup nightmare they suffered last season, as they went out at the first hurdle against the little-known Swiss side Thun (2:3, 1:4).



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