Eto´o enjoys winning Inter start

Samuel Eto’o enjoyed a winning start to his Inter Milan career on Thursday when the Italian champions defeated French side Monaco 1-0 in a friendly match.

The Cameroon striker, who signed a five-year contract on Monday after agreeing a switch from European champions Barcelona, started on the bench but came on at half-time.

Argentine striker Diego Milito grabbed the only goal of the game scoring from a Sulley Muntari pass in the 56th minute.

Eto’o was eventually substituted by coach Jose Mourinho in the 87th minute.

“It was a great night because it was important to win,” said the 28-year-old Eto’o.

“On a personal level, I was tired. I have only trained three times. But little by little, I will feel better physically and I will be able to find an understanding with my teammates.

“I will be patient but also confident. Mourinho didn’t say anything in particular except to play my normal game, freely and in peace.

“Now our hope is to win the Italian Super Cup. This season we will be playing every match in the championship as if it’s a final. That’s what we did at Barcelona.”

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Bayern see off United in shootout

Manchester United missed a handful of decent opportunities before losing out to Bayern Munich 7-6 in a penalty shootout in the final of the Audi Cup on Thursday.

Bayern, playing in front of a 70,000 crowd at their Allianz Arena home, delivered the first piece of silverware for new coach Louis Van Gaal a week ahead of the start of the new Bundesliga season.

But Sir Alex Ferguson’s English champions were left to rue a succession of decent opportunities with Dimitar Berbatov hitting the woodwork while Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney also came close.

Bayern had the first opening with Mario Gomez seeing a 12-metre drive crash of the crossbar with keeper Edwin van der Sar well-beaten

Three minutes before half-time, Berbatov slipped by the Bayern defenders only to see his shot come back off the post with goalkeeper Michael Rensing struggling to make up his ground.

Owen saw Rensing save a shot in the 62nd minute while Rooney also went close late on.

In the shootout, Rensing saved spot-kicks from Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans in the shoot-out before Daniel van Buyten stroked in the winner.

“We played some very good football in the first half,” said Van Gaal.

“We should have scored but Manchester United also should have found the target in the second period. It was tight right from the start so I am happy to have won.”

In the play-off for third place, Argentina’s Boca Juniors defeated AC Milan 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the two sides had been locked 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Thiago Silva gave the Italians the lead from close range after 27 minutes before Lucas Viatri levelled for Boca three minutes from time.

In the shootout, Brazilian star Pato saw his kick saved by Roberto Abondanzzieri after Milan’s Andrea Pirlo and Boca’s Federico Insua had also seen spot-kicks saved.

Fri 31 July, 2009
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Rensing leads Bayern to Audi Cup victory

Bayern Munich have won the inaugural edition of the Audi Cup, beating Manchester United on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.

Both sides hit the woodwork in regular time. A shot from Mario Gomez bounced off the crossbar and an overhead kick from Dimitar Berbatov came back from the left post.

In the penalty shoot-out, Rensing made two saves while Van der Sar blocked only one, as Bayern clinched the trophy.

Earlier on Thursday, Boca Juniors were the better side in a shoot-out with AC Milan to take third place at the friendly tournament in Munich.

Thu 30 July, 2009
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Seol caps Fulham victory, Euro ties marred by violence

South Korea international Seol Ki-Hyeon scored the crucial third goal as Fulham defeated Lithuanian side Vetra 3-0 in Vilnius on Thursday in the Europa League third qualifying round first leg tie.

Seol was introduced by coach Roy Hodgson as a late substitute, along with new signing Bjorn Helge Riise, and the Korean made an immediate impact when he scored with a superb strike from the edge of the area after 85 minutes.

Bobby Zamora scored the opener for Fulham, who are playing in Europe for the first time since 2002, on the stroke of half-time.

Zamora turned down a summer move to Premier League rivals Hull earlier in the summer and he showed his importance to the Londoners with a 44th-minute strike from a Danny Murphy pass.

Murphy added the second from the penalty spot in the 56th minute after Zamora had been fouled in the area.

Seol then added the third to make Fulham comfortable favourites to progress when the second leg takes place at Craven Cottage next week.

Two ties, meanwhile, were overshadowed by violence.

In Denmark, 111 fans were arrested in the Danish town of Brondy before the home team’s clash with Legia Warsaw.

Police used teargas to break up fighting between the two sets of fans before kick-off in the match which ended 1-1.

Dozens of Croatian fans and eight Slovak policemen were injured in the northern Slovakian town of Zilina where the home team were facing Hajduk Split.

Around 500 Croatian fans threw stones at police and broke shopwindows in the town as they tried to sneak into the stadium.

The police detained 120 Croatians, police spokeswoman Jana Balogova said.

Thu 30 July, 2009
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Peixoto left out of Braga line up

Portuguese side Sporting Braga’s midfielder César Peixoto has been left out of the line-up, for the club’s Europa League qualification against Elfsborg.

The move would fuel further speculation regarding the transfer of the former Porto FC player to Benfica, as the 29-year-old has been accused of engineering a move to the Lisbon based club.

While, Braga’s club officials have denied that Benfica are interested, it is being reported that Peixoto’s name has not been included in the submission of the final list of players to the officials for tonight’s match.

This could mean that the clubs are negotiating a transfer for the left-back, who has been capped once for Portugal.

Had Peixoto, who began his career with Caçadores Taipas, featured for Braga tonight, it would have rendered him cup-tied, if Benfica would hav attempted to register his name, following their entry to the competition.

Thu 30 July, 2009
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Former Belarus manager Kurnenin dies

Former Belarus manager Yuri Kurnenin has died at the age of 55, just a month after leading the nation’s youth team at the UEFA Under-21 Championships.

Kurnenin was mostly famous for his days as a player, and was part of the FC Dinamo Minsk side that became the first Belarussian team to win the Soviet championship in 1982.

As a manager, Kurnenin coached the Belarus national team in 2005 and 2006, and joined the Under-21 team in 2008 with a spot at the tournament finals as result.

Thu 30 July, 2009
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German Super Cup to be reinstated

The German Super Cup should become an official fixture on the calendar from next season after the German Football League today unanimously agreed on its reintroduction.

The event was scrapped 14 years ago and made way for a multi-club pre-season League Cup competition.

That was held for the last time two years ago, since when the previous two Bundesliga champions and DFB-Pokal winners have pushed for a Super Cup to be reintroduced.

Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund last summer and Werder Bremen beat Wolfsburg earlier this month in an event billed as the Super Cup but which was not officially recognised by the domestic football governing bodies.

However, the German Football League (DFL) are set to revive the competition officially next summer.

“The clash between the German champion and the DFB-Pokal winner is very prestigious and it will excite the fans,” said DFL president Dr Reinhard Rauball after a board meeting produced a unanimous vote in favour of its reintroduction.

“We want to build on an old tradition which is particularly popular in other European countries.”

Thu 30 July, 2009
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Lucho Gonzalez breaks collarbone

Argentinian Lucho Gonzalez is likely to miss the start of the French Ligue 1 season after fracturing his collarbone in a friendly with Saint-Etienne.

The new Olympique de Marseille forward fell awkwardly after a battle with Saint-Etienne’s Kevin Mirallas.

“It’s a big blog but that’s one of the risks. It’s a pity because Lucho was back to good fitness. What he needs now is to recover as early as possible and come back stronger,” said l’OM manager Didier Deschamps.

The South American joined the French side from FC Porto earlier this month. Marseille paid a club-record fee of 17 million Euros.

Thu 30 July, 2009
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Boca Juniors take third place at Audi Cup

Boca Juniors won the match for third place at the Audi Cup in Munich, beating AC Milan 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 result.

Thiago Silva put Milan ahead after 26 minutes, as the Italians looked to have recovered from Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat to hosts Bayern.

But the Argentinians scored through Lucas Viatri with just three minutes to go, and penalties were needed to decide which team was to finish third at this inaugural Audi Cup.

In the shoot-out, both sides had already missed one penalty when Milan’s Pato had the final spot kick saved by keeper Abbondanzieri, thereby handing the victory to Boca.

Thu 30 July, 2009
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Forlan to extend with Atletico Madrid

Uruguayan Diego Forlan is expected to extend his contract with Atletico Madrid, adding another two years to his stay in the Spanish capital.

Atletico representatives and Forlan’s manager revealed that such a contract extension is imminent, with the player likely to sign the new deal in August.

Forlan joined Atletico in 2007 after a three-year stint at Villarreal. The 30-year-old striker scored 48 goals in 69 games for the ‘Rojiblanco’.

The South American’s current contract ends in 2011. The new agreement lasts until 2013.

Thu 30 July, 2009
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