Benfica trash Vitoria Setubal

Benfica left a great impression in their third Liga Sagres match of the season, beating Vitoria Setubal eight goals to one.

The Lisbon outfit dominated through the start and went ahead with a goal from Javi Garcia in the 16th minute. Luisao added a second five minutes later and Oscar Cardozo converted a penalty in minute 28, 3-0.

Argentinian midfielder Pablo Aimar then made it 4-0 in the 35th minute, and the hosts needed only another minute for Ramires to add their fifth of the night.

And their trashing of Vitoria Setubal wasn’t even over at this point. Oscar Cardozo added another pair of goals in the 65th and 75th minutes, and Nuno Gomez made it 8-0 with six minutes to go.

Helder Barbosa scored a consolation goal for the guests in the last minute of regular time, for a 8-1 final score.

Benfica jump to second place thanks to this victory, at two points from leaders Sporting Braga.

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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Inter: 15 players on international duty

As planned, José Mourinho has given his players three days off after the victory over AC Milan. Inter will resume training on Wednesday with an afternoon session. When the players report back to work, the Inter coach will be without the fifteen players who are away on international duty. Inter will train on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday ahead of Saturday’s friendly match against Swiss side Lugano, to take place at the Stadio Cordaredo in Lugano (kick-off 17:30).

The following fifteen Inter players have been called up to their national teams for upcoming international matches: Mario Balotelli, Lorenzo Crisetig (Italy U21), Davide Santon (Italy), Lucio, Maicon, Julio Cesar (Brazil), Javier Zanetti, Diego Milito (Argentina), Renè Khrin (Slovenia), Cristian Chivu (Romania), Wesley Sneijder (Holland), Dejan Stankovic (Serbia), Ivan Ramiro Cordoba (Colombia), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Sulley Muntari (Ghana).

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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Galatasaray win at Ankaraspor

Galatasaray beat Ankaraspor 0-2 on Monday to surpass local rivals Fenerbahce and move into first place in the Turkish Süper Lig.

The match, played at Ankara’s Yenikent ASAS Stadium, remained goalless for 73 minutes. It was then that Harry Kewell finally broke the deadlock in Gala’s favor.

The second goal came ten minutes later and was scored by Shabani Nonda.

Galatasaray share the first place with Fenerbahce, as both have won all of their first four games, but have a better goal record than their arch rivals.

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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Fabio Grosso is a Juventus player

Juventus reached an agreement with Olympique Lyonnais for the definite transfer of Fabio Grosso for a total of €2 million payable in three annual instalments. The value of the agreement can be increased up to a further €1 million upon reaching certain sport objectives during the length of the contract. The agreement is under the condition that the international transfer in favour of Juventus reaches the club by Tuesday 1st September 2009. Juventus signed a three year contract with the player.

«The signing of Fabio Grosso – declared general manager Blanc as Bianconeri’s website reports – adds quality to an already very competitive squad. The international experience and the qualities of a world champion will certainly be useful to a team competing on three fronts. Ferrara, will therefore have at his disposal other technical solutions and will have a player who he got to know during his experience with the national team. With this signing Juventus have ended a very busy transfer market, which hand has now all the best conditions to concentrate on its sports objectives».

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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Freddy Adu to finish season on loan at Belenenses

American prodigy Freddy Adu is set to play the rest of this season on loan at Belenenses in Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon.

The 20-year-old joined Benfica in 2007 but never really broke through at the Portuguese club. Last season, he was loaned out to French side AS Monaco.

Adu, who formed part of the USA squads for this summer’s Confederations Cup and Gold Cup, needs more playing minutes in order to convince US manager Bob Bradley to select him for next year’s World Cup.

The striker began his career at DC United in 2004 and joined Benfica in 2007 after a quick stint at Real Salt Lake. To complete this move, Adu won’t have to change cities as Belenenses is located in Lisbon as well.

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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Vieira ´disappointed´ at France snub, hints at US exile

Veteran midfielder Patrick Vieira said Monday that he had been massively disappointed when France coach Raymond Domenech snubbed him for upcoming crucial World Cup qualifiers against Romania and Serbia.

The Inter Milan star, who was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad in 1998, has not played in the French national side since a poor showing in a June friendly with Nigeria which brought the 33-year-old a 107th cap. He missed the 1-0 away win over the Faroe Islands on August 12.

“Yes, it was a massive disappointment because it’s true that physically and mentally I had prepared myself for these two matches,” Vieira said.

“It’s been a disappointment but one that can be understood: compared to some players, I am perhaps less in form.

“I thought that with my experience I would have been part of this squad for these two matches, I felt as if I could have been able to bring something. But unfortunately the coach thought I wasn’t suitable for the two games, even if we didn’t speak about it.”

Vieira said there had been “no call, no explanation. I received a missed call but unfortunately I was at training”.

Domenech instead left a text message on Vieira’s mobile telephone, the midfielder told former France team-mate Bixente Lizarazu on RTL radio.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t call him back because the squad list was announced afterwards, at 2pm.”

Vieira insisted, however, that playing at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa remained a goal.

“My objective really is the World Cup,” he said. “These are two important matches, a stage we have to get over and I’m convinced that the squad will succeed without me, but my goal remains the World Cup.

“It’s difficult. I didn’t make the simplest choice by staying at Milan but I believe in myself. The season still has a long way to go and I’m convinced I’ll play.”

Vieira added that calling a halt to his illustrious career at season’s end was a “possibility”.

“It’s something I’m thinking about. What’s certain in football is that you never know what’s going to happen.

“If at the end of my contract I have an attractive offer from a club in Europe with a tempting challenge, that could be interesting for me.

“But what I want to do today is to stop at the end of the season and go and try a new experience: why not the United States?

“I also think that I maybe no longer want to play at the highest level. What interests me could really be a life experience, and to go and discover football in the United States – if I was to continue playing.”

But Vieira promised one more season at the highest level: “I hope to make the World Cup and after we’ll see how it pans out. What’s certain is that if tomorrow you receive a phone call from Barcelona, you no longer ask yourself the same questions.”

Domenech did not completely close the door on Vieira when he unveiled his squad for the games against Romania and Serbia.

“I always have hope – he is not finished, he is on the way back, but a little short of (match) fitness at the moment. However, I hope he will be back soon,” Domenech said Thursday.

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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Kuzmanovic joins VfB Stuttgart

German side VfB Stuttgart have signed Serbian midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic from Italian Serie A side Fiorentina.

The 21-year-old reportedly signed a four-year deal with the Bundesliga outfit, who according to rumors, pay around 8 million Euros for the player.

“Zdravko Kuzmanovic is the epitomy of the modern midfielder: he reads the game very well, he can handle himself in the duels and despite his age he’s got plenty of experience,” said Stuttgart manager Markus Babbel.

Kuzmanovic joined Fiorentina in 2007, after two years at Swiss side FC Basel.

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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Injured Polak out of Czech qualifiers

Anderlecht midfielder Jan Polak has been ruled out of the Czech Republic’s two World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and San Marino after tearing ligaments in his knee while playing for his Belgian club on Sunday.

Czech coach Ivan Hasek said Monday: “We spoke on the phone and from what I can gather he will be sidelined for quite a while.”

Polak, 28, has been replaced in the squad by West Ham’s Radoslav Kovac.

After Saturday’s crunch match against bitter rivals Slovakia in Bratislava, the Czechs play the last three qualifiers at home against no-hopers San Marino on September 9 and Poland and Northern Ireland later this year.

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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Real clinch Joselu deal

European giants Real Madrid have struck a deal to sign teenage striker Jose Luis Mato from Celta Vigo.

The 19-year-old, better known as Joselu, has been on the radar of Primera Liga clubs since making his first-team breakthrough in the Segunda Division last season.

And after opening negotiations with Celta, Real confirmed on their website on Monday that they had reached an agreement with the Galician outfit to secure Joselu’s services.

In a deal similar to the one Real struck with Racing Santander last year for Ezequiel Garay, Joselu will remain at Celta on loan this season before moving to the Bernabeu next summer.

Joselu began last season in Celta’s youth team but was quickly elevated into the reserves and, by the end of the season, the first team.

He then scored two goals for Spain during this summer’s European Under 19 Championship, taking his tally to three in 11 appearances for the Under 19’s.

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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Roma sign Lobont

Roma have signed Romanian international goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont on loan from Dinamo Bucharest.

Lobont has joined Roma on a season-long loan with the option of a permanent deal.

The 31-year-old has previous experience of playing in Italy having had a spell at Fiorentina in the past.

“Lobont is on loan to Roma for a year, after which the club will have the option of paying for his transfer,” said Lobont’s agent, Victor Becali.

Lobont will provide cover for first-choice goalkeeper Doni at the Stadio Olimpico.

Mon 31 Aug, 2009
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