UAE beat Honduras and advance to round of sixteen

The United Arab Emirates are the new leaders in Group F of the World Youth Championship and secured a spot in the next round thanks to Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Honduras.

Honduras went into this game with a 3-0 win over Hungary in the pocket, and looked to secure qualification for the round of sixteen against UAE.

Things went quite different at Alexandria Stadium however. UAE were awarded a free kick in the 41st minute and 18-year-old Ahmed Khalil directed it past keeper Reyes for what turned out to be the only goal.

For Honduras, things got worse in the fifth minute of extra time when Reinieri Mayorquin conceded a second yellow card. The midfielder will therefore miss Saturday’s crucial match against South Africa.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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Carrick and Giggs haul United to victory

Michael Carrick struck a 77th-minute winning goal for Manchester United as they maintained their 100 per cent record in their Champions League group with a 2-1 victory over German champions Wolfsburg at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

But it was a far from convincing victory for the group leaders and required a deflected Ryan Giggs free-kick to cancel out an opening goal from Wolfsburg?s Edin Dzeko.

Finally, substitute Dimitar Berbatov linked with Giggs in a skilful move inside the area and the veteran winger played the ball into the path of Carrick for a well-placed shot into the top corner from 15 yards.

The game had started with United in uncharacteristically poor defensive form, given their proud record of not having lost a home game in the Champions League since February 2005, a 21-match unbeaten streak.

Wolfsburg looked well capable of challenging that record as United?s back four defended appallingly.

Nemanja Vidic set the tone with an aimless header which fell directly to Wolfsburg?s Brazilian Grafite whose pass found Christian Gentner only for the forward to shoot straight at Tomasz Kuszczak in the United goal.

Patrice Evra was guilty of an equally glaring error, a pass which travelled straight to the feet of Dzeko, whose 25-yarder shot past the left-hand stick.

The mood on the United bench could not have been helped on the 20-minute mark when Michael Owen, who had been talking up his hopes of regaining his place in the England World Cup squad on the very morning of the game, limped off with the recurrence of a groin injury which had prevented him from training on Tuesday.

Fabio Capello, the England manager, sat in the directors? box and it is safe to assume that Owen?s hopes of being named in the squad for next week?s World Cup qualifiers went along with his further participation in this game.

Ironically, the departure of Owen and the introduction of Berbatov seemed to breathe new life into United?s previously stagnant attacking play.

After 25 minutes, Berbatov neatly back-heeled for Antonio Valencia and the winger sprinted into the area before rolling his shot wide, a poor finish.

Berbatov then did exceptionally well to feed Carrick on the half hour with a clever pass through a crowded area but the England midfielder, with only Diego Benaglio to beat in the Wolfsburg goal, struck his attempt directly at the prone keeper.

Giggs also found Berbatov with a far-post centre which the Bulgarian, at an awkward angle, could only volley over.

But, as Vidic capped a terrible first half with a caution for hauling down Grafite on the halfway line, there were further danger signs from the visitors with Christian Gentner heading powerfully over from Josue?s corner.

After the restart, Dzeko volleyed over from another corner and Gentner almost succeeded in lifting a shot over Tomasz Kuszczak before Anderson squandered a couple of half-chances at the other end.

There was little surprise, therefore, when Wolfsburg took the lead in the 55th minute with Dzeko rising magnificently to head home Makoto Hasebe?s short-range cross after another enterprising attacking move from the German side.

The one thing Wolfsburg needed to avoid was presenting United with an easy route back into the contest but, unfortunately for them, Josue?s foul on Anderson on the edge of their area just four minutes later did precisely that.

Giggs strode up to take the set-piece and his effort appeared destined to offer little trouble to Wolfsburg until it struck the back of Gentner, in the wall, and deflected past the wrong-footed Benaglio in the visiting goal.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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Goal machine Ronaldo seals another Real victory

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo made it nine goals in seven games by bagging a brace as Real Madrid’s ‘Galacticos’ defeated 10-man Marseille 3-0 on Tuesday in their first Champions League match in front of their Santiago Bernabeu crowd.

It means Real have now won all seven of their matches this season, two in the Champions League and five in the league, and sit top of Group C with a maximum six points.

Real blitzed Marseille with three goals in six minutes; Ronaldo, who now has four Champions League goals in two games, scored two and won the penalty that led to the other.

The marquee summer signing opened the scoring on 58 minutes and then won a spot-kick three minutes later which saw Marseille centre-back Souleymane Diawara dismissed for a second yellow card.

Kaka converted the penalty kick and Ronaldo struck again in the 64th minute to show why Real paid a world record 94 million euros for his services.

Captain Raul, the all-time top-scorer in the Champions League, had to be content with a place on the substitutes’ bench as new French star Karim Benzema started against his compatriots.

Ronaldo and Kaka joined Benzema in an attacking trident with Xabi Alonso and Fernando Gago employed in defensive midfield.

There were familiar faces to the Real fans in the Marseille line-up as Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze and veteran striker Fernando Morientes returned to their old stomping ground.

Heinze spent two seasons at the club before being let go by incoming coach Manuel Pellegrini in the summer while Morientes won three Champions League titles with Real and was given a warm welcome from the home fans.

Off the pitch there was a beefed-up police presence, after Marseille’s last visit to Madrid saw them clash with baton-wielding riot police at the Vicente Calderon during a group match with Atletico Madrid.

There was no repeat of those ugly scenes, though, and the match took centre stage although it was a low-key opening from Real, who only had a half-chance from Sergio Ramos to show from the first 20 minutes.

Marseille, fourth in their domestic league, had a chance of their own on the quarter-hour mark but Iker Casillas was on his toes and raced out to swipe the ball from visiting captain Mamadou Niang.

On 26 minutes the Senegalese star skipped past Pepe but had to shoot from an acute angle and Casillas was on hand again to save with his chest.

It was a warning that appeared to spur Real into action and Benzema went agonisingly close twice.

First of all the ex-Lyon striker saw a brilliant overhead kick go just over and was then thwarted in a one-on-one by goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

In the second half Real got into their stride and took the lead through a route-one goal, with Pepe’s long ball finding Ronaldo who carefully placed a low shot beneath the advancing Mandanda.

The former Manchester United man then drew a foul from Diawara which earned the defender a second yellow card and allowed Kaka to put Real 2-0 up with a confidently taken penalty.

Ronaldo continued his rich vein of form in front of goal with an easy tap-in to wrap up the game after slick inter-play between Benzema and Kaka.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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Zurich heap pressure on under-fire Leonardo with Milan win

FC Zurich pulled off a famous and unlikely victory as Finland’s Hannu Tihinen scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over AC Milan in the Champions League at the San Siro on Wednesday.

And this latest set-back will surely have piled even more pressure on under-fire Milan coach Leonardo.

In four home matches this season Milan have scored only one goal, also winning only once, while they have fared little better on their travels.

But the significance of this home defeat to European football minnows can hardly be understated, particularly as Milan’s next two Group C games will be against free-scoring Real Madrid.

Having also won only two of six league matches, already Milan’s pretentions both at home and in Europe look decidedly fragile.

Leonardo began this game under pressure and the first half would have made uncomfortable viewing for the Brazilian.

On seven minutes Milan full-back Ignazio Abate mishit a cross from the right that almost caught out Zurich goalkeeper Johnny Leoni, who bizarrely reacted by kicking the ball off his line.

But on 10 minutes the visitors were in front with a goal from a former West Ham player that the Premier League club’s current manager would have been proud of.

Milan Gajic swing over a corner and Tihinen arrived unmolested at the near post to flick the ball with his heel between his legs and past Marco Storari in the Milan goal — a near copy of a goal Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola scored for Chelsea against Norwich in 2002.

On the quarter hour Filippo Inzaghi should have levelled after a surging run and devilish cross from Marek Jankulovski but the veteran striker slid in and poked wide from two yards.

It was an open game and after Clarence Seedorf had volleyed over for the hosts, Johan Volanthen escaped on the counter-attack and pulled the ball back for Xavier Margairaz, who failed to keep either his shot or his head down.

Milan were enjoying some success with their full-backs and Abate beat Onyekachi Okonkwo down the right and crossed for Inzaghi, whose header drifted wide of the far post.

Seedorf sent a vicious long range shot just past the upright but then Storari had to scramble behind an even harder shot from Gajic.

Leonardo wasted no time in trying to fire up his side, bringing on former world player of the year Ronaldinho for Seedorf at the break.

Just before the hour mark Inzaghi almost levelled again as he met a dangerous Andrea Pirlo free-kick with his head but Leoni made a flying one-handed save.

Moments later Ronaldinho sent Pato in on goal with a sumptuous through ball but although his young compatriot lifted the ball over Leoni, it dropped wide of the post.

It was a thrill a minute and after Leoni blocked a close range Inzaghi shot with his foot, Storari kept out a drilled Margairaz effort with his boot.

Milan kept pushing and on 88 minutes captain Massimo Ambrosini shaved the outside of the post with a low strike from 20 yards.

With almost the last kick of the match Gianluca Zambrotta crashed a stunning shot against the Zurich upright but the Swiss deserved that bit of luck and the three points that boosts their qualification hopes after their 5-2 home defeat to Real.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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Chelsea struggle to beat APOEL

Chelsea came through a tricky Champions League tie in Cyprus on Wednesday against Cypriot underdogs APOEL Nicosia with a scrappy 1-0 victory to stay top of Group D.

After a hesitant start in the opening minutes Chelsea quickly found their stride with the intelligent running of Nicolas Anelka on the left and Frank Lampard probing through the middle of the park.

The home side seemed unfazed by the occasion – billed as the biggest game in the club’s 83-year history – but APOEL had little answer to combat Chelsea’s wing play.

And the Cypriots were undone by a weaving run from right-back Branislav Ivanovic, who broke into the box to set up Anelka to calmly curl the shot past keeper Dionisios Chiotis after 18 minutes.

The Frenchman was a constant menace, first on the left, then switching intermittently to the right as he seemed to find space easily behind the defence.

Before Anelka’s strike, Salomon Kalou had a chance to score but put his shot wide of the target and Ashely Cole could have made it two-nil after only 20 minutes gone but his header wide from six yards.

Despite Chelsea pressure the goal was the only shot on target with Chiotis not really called on to repeat the heroics of his clean sheet in Madrid.

His opposite number down the other end also had a quiet first 45 minutes with Petr Cech only called in to service to punch away a Constantinos Charalambides free kick. And the Cyprus international should have done better when he skewed a volley horribly wide when he had a sight on goal.

The Premier League title contenders came out after the interval eager to clinch a second goal that would inevitably kill the game off as a contest. But the extra goal never came while Chelsea were put on the back foot in the second half with some desperate defending thrown in.

And while the visitors failed to create chances, APOEL grew more confident, taking the fight to Chelsea.

They came close to a shock equaliser when a mix up in the defence gave Savvas Poursatides a scoring opportunity but Cech smartly saved with his legs.

Charalambides nearly had the last word in this tie, but his close range header from an angle went the wrong side of the bar five minutes from the end.

As the contest entered the final third, the London club seemed to lose shape and rhythm as passes went astray. Chelsea looked rather ordinary at that stage while the Cypriots played the better football that made a mockery of their minnow status.

This was not Chelsea’s best performance in Europe but manager Carlo Ancelotti demanded three points and his players delivered.

APOEL are only the second Cypriot team to reach the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition – after Anorthosis made it last season – and earned a credible 0-0 opening-day draw away to Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea wanted to cement their place at the top of the table with a second victory in as many games.

No Cypriot team had ever beaten an English side in European competition.

Yet this rarely seemed like a David v Goliath contest with Chelsea’s wealth of talent failing to overpower their hosts.

APOEL were buoyed by their vociferous ‘orange’ supporters, who created an intimidating atmosphere at Nicosia’s GSP stadium.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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Honours even as Bayern held by Juventus

Bayern Munich were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Group A rivals Juventus on Wednesday, which left the frustrated German giants sharing the top of the table with group rivals Bordeaux.

Bayern created a string of chances in the first half and ended the game with 14 shots on target compared to the Italians’ seven, but Louis van Gaal’s side failed to break the Juventus defence.

With Maccabi Haifa losing 1-0 at Bordeaux, Bayern stay top of the table only by virtue of a superior goal difference compared to the French champions, who they will meet in the next round of matches.

Van Gaal opted to start Germany star Miroslav Klose as the lone striker with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery – dubbed ‘Robbery’ by the German media – on the wings in a 4-3-3 formation.

In defence, 20-year-old Holger Badstuber partnered Belgium’s Daniel van Buyten at centre-back with Germany’s Philipp Lahm and Holland’s Edson Braafheid on the flanks.

Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara opted for his customary 4-4-2 with France’s David Trezeguet partnering Italian World Cup winner Vincenzo Iaquinta up front.

The sides had experienced mixed fortunes in their opening games, with Bayern winning 3-0 at Maccabi while Juve drew 1-1 at home to Bordeaux.

The Germans threatened in the opening minutes when 20-year-old midfielder Thomas Mueller fired across the face of the goal, but his effort went wide, while Trezeguet picked up an early card.

Brazil’s ex-Werder Bremen midfielder Diego then fired straight at Bayern goalkeeper Hans-Joerg Butt on 18 minutes, but seconds later Ribery beat two defenders only to float his shot over both goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and the crossbar.

Just before the half-hour mark, Mueller broke through and went one-on-one with Buffon, but tried to play Robben into space and wasted the chance, with Klose heading over from the resulting corner.

Juve’s Mauro Camoranesi then fired wide of the post while seconds later both Mueller, Klose and Schweinsteiger all had chances against Buffon.

Ribery was sent tumbling to the turf on several occasions by robust Juventus marking and referee Howard Webb finally lost his patience when he showed Camoranesi a yellow card on 36 minutes.

Just before the half-time whistle Robben limped out of the game with an injury to his right leg, Ivica Olic replacing him.

The game went flat in the second-half as Juventus playmaker Diego went off and van Gaal brought on Germany striker Mario Gomez to spruce up Munich’s attack.

Iaquinta had arguably the best chance of the game to put the guests ahead when he mistimed his shot on 65 minutes and slammed his fist into the turf in frustration – it was one of those nights.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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Ciani sees Bordeaux past obdurate Maccabi

French champions Bordeaux maintained their Champions League momentum with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at home to Israeli counterparts Maccabi Haifa here on Wednesday.

Les Girondins began their Group A campaign with a creditable 1-1 draw at Italian giants Juventus and coach Laurent Blanc had asserted that their games with Maccabi would be their most important in a group that also contains German heavyweights Bayern Munich.

The French side laboured for long periods against Elisha Levy’s well-drilled side before eventually breaking through in the 83rd minute when Michael Ciani leapt highest to convert Gregory Sertic’s deep corner.

Blanc fielded an attacking line-up, with Argentine striker Fernando Cavenaghi handed his first Champions League start up front alongside last season’s top scorer Marouane Chamakh.

Maccabi Haifa went down 3-0 at Bayern Munich in their opening game but they made an assured start at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

Home goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso was forced to deny Eyal Meshumar and Peter Masilela as the visitors raided forward gamely, while Bordeaux talisman Yoann Gourcuff found himself tightly shackled.

An injury to Gourcuff saw him replaced by defensive midfielder Fernando at half-time and the Brazilian quickly sought to impose himself upon the game, threatening three times within 15 minutes of his introduction but failing to find the target on each occasion.

David Bellion, a replacement for Cavenaghi, was foiled by Nir Davidovitch in the visiting goal after being teed up by Chamakh but Maccabi remained dangerous and Carrasso had to thwart Eyal Golasa and Lior Rafaelov in quick succession.

A goalless draw looked the inevitable outcome but with seven minutes remaining Ciani powered home substitute Sertic’s centre after Wendel’s shot had been turned behind for a corner by Davidovitch.

It was a cruel outcome for the visitors, who had Biram Kayal dismissed following a lunge at Benoit Tremoulinas in the game’s dying minutes.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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Scolari fails in AFC Champions League bid

Former Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari failed in his bid Wednesday to steer new club Bunyodkor into the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League, with the Uzbek giants blowing their chance.

Bunyodkor came into the match against Korean FA Cup holders Pohang Steelers with a 3-1 first leg advantage, but the money-rich club were outplayed.

They were down 3-0 after a Kim Jae-Sung strike and Denilson brace and staring at defeat when Victor Karpenko hauled them out of trouble with a 90th minute goal to level the aggregate score and take the match to extra-time.

But with Bunyodkor’s star player Rivaldo looking every one of his 37 years, the Koreans deservedly booked their place in the last four when Stevica Ristic rose above two defenders to head the decider after 102 minutes.

It gave them a 4-1 home victory on the night and a 5-4 aggregate win.

The defeat will be hugely disappointing for Brazil’s Scolari, who was enticed to Tashkent in June and after being fired by Chelsea and is now reportedly the highest paid coach in the world, pipping Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.

Pohang’s reward is a semi-final against Qatar’s Umm Salal, who beat FC Seoul 4-3 on aggregate to deny an all-Korean semi.

The Qataris took a 3-2 first leg lead to Seoul and when Aziz Ben Askar scored for the visitors on 14 minutes they looked comfortable.

Dejan Damjanovic pulled one back for Seoul two minutes later but that was as far as they got with the match ending 1-1.

Japan’s Nagoya Grampus joined Pohang and Umm Salal in the last four after towering Australian striker Josh Kennedy pounced with three minutes left to give his side a 3-1 victory over fellow J-Leaguers Kawasaki Frontale.

Nagoya, trailing with a 2-1 away deficit from the first leg, levelled the aggregate when Yoshizumi Ogawa dribbled through midfield on a break and slammed in a 20-metre right-footer on 26 minutes.

Defender Maya Yoshida put the homeside ahead on 34 minutes by heading in a long free kick by Brazilian Allesandro dos Santos.

But Kawaski pulled one back on the break three minutes later as North Korean striker Chong Tese picked up a through ball from Renatinho and beat a Nagoya defender to ruffle the net past goalkeeper Koichi Hirono.

Kennedy, who moved from Germany’s Karlsruhe in June, put the game beyond Kawasaki in the dying minutes, slotting in a rebound off Brazilian Magnum’s shot.

“It was a very, very hard battle, a very good game of high quality,” said Nagoya’s Serbian coach Dragan Stojkovic.

“I think that both teams played very well. But finally, I’m very proud about my players, their performace and the result, of course.”

It was Nagoya’s first win against their rivals in 11 attempts.

They will face two-time champions Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia who defeated Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor 4-0 in Riyadh for a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Goals from Sultan Al Nemri, Amine Chermiti, Hicham Aboucherouane and captain Mohammed Noor sealed a comprehensive win.

The hosts broke the deadlock shortly before half time when Al Nemri headed home a powerful drive from Aboucherouane.

Chermiti claimed the second after 55 minutes with a volley into the back of the net and a header from Aboucherouane with 20 minutes to go put the result beyond a doubt before skipper Noor added a fourth five minutes later.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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YWC: Hungary cruise past South Africa

Hungary are still alive at the World Youth Championship after a convincing 4-0 victory over South Africa in Group F.

The first half at Alexandria Stadium went by without goals, but the Hungarians needed only four minutes for Zsolt Korcsmar to break the deadlock in the second.

Vladimir Koman converted a penalty for 2-0 six minutes later and Andras Debreceni hit the net to add another in the 71st.

The fourth and final goal came from Adam Presinger near the full time whistle.

Hungary move into second place in Group F, while South Africa are at the bottom with just one point from their first two games.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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Brazil and Czech Republic advance at World Youth Championship

Brazil and the Czech Republic are both through to the World Youth Championship round of sixteen after the two held each other to a goalless draw on Wednesday.

Neither side managed to make a difference at Port Said Stadium, but Spanish referee Undiano Mallenco had enough to do with six yellow cards for Brazil and three for the Czechs.

It was clear from the start that Czech Republic manager Dovalil wanted to secure a point as his team displayed a defensive style that kept the Brazilians at a save distance from the goal.

The best chance came just after the hour though, when an Alex Texeira volley rattled the crossbar.

Brazil and the Czech Republic both have four points from their first two games, and are certain of a spot in the next round.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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