Portugal: Valdes leads Sporting to victory

(GSM) – Sporting Lisbon jumped to third place in the Portuguese league following a 1-2 victory at Uniao de Leiria on Sunday.

Chilean striker Jaime Valdes was of great importance to the capital city side, scoring both away goals at Leiria’s Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa stadium.

The South American first found the target in the 14th minute, but had that goal canceled out by Brazilian Carlao in the 21st.

Valdes then restored the advantage four minutes before the break, and this time it was enough for Sporting to secure the three points.

Sporting are ten points behind leaders Porto, and three points away from second-placed Benfica.

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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Mazembe crush 10-man Esperance in African final

A controversial goal set title holders TP Mazembe of DR Congo on the road to a 5-0 drubbing of 10-man Esperance from Tunisia Sunday in the first leg of the African Champions League final.

The North Africans claimed an Ngandu Kasongo header did not cross the line after 18 minutes but the protests were ignored by the Togolese referee, who sent off defender Mohamed Mansour soon after.

Kasongo and Zambia-born Given Singuluma scored two goals each and Dioko Kaluyituka converted a penalty in Lubumbashi to render the mid-November return match virtually meaningless.

Mazembe attacked from the kick-off in hot conditions on a billiard-table smooth artificial surface at the 35,000-seat Kenya Stadium in the southern Congolese mining city.

The defending champions were also taking no chances with leading African Champions League scorer Michael Eneramo, who had two ‘minders’ whenever he moved near the ball.

Esperance survived only 18 minutes before falling behind as a Kasongo header off a free kick put Mazembe ahead amid protests from Tunisian players that the ball did not cross the line.

After Eneramo used his outstretched arm to score the goal that eliminated six-time champions Al-Ahly of Egypt in the semi-finals this month, the last thing African football needed was more controversy.

Not only were Esperance behind, but they struggled to contain a Mazembe team backed by a capacity crowd and committed seven fouls within 20 minutes of the match starting.

After a curling shot from midfielder and captain Oussama Darragi just missed the target midway through the half, Esperance were dealt another blow as Mansour was sent off.

The match official spotted an off-the-ball infringement and flashed his red card to incense Esperance coach Faouzi Benzarti, coach of the ‘Blood and Gold’ when they won the competition for the only time 16 years ago.

Walid Hicheri went close to levelling with a header off a corner and at the other end the woodwork robbed the home team of a second goal as they continued to dominate possession.

Darragi was replaced by defender Zied Derbali nine minutes before the break as Esperance opted for damage limitation and Nigeria-born Eneramo inherited the captaincy.

But packed defence from the North African could not prevent the defending champions increasing their lead in first-half stoppage time as leading club scorer Kaluyituka converted a penalty.

The Congolese midfielder claimed his seventh goal of the African campaign by sending goalkeeper Wassim Naouara the wrong way after Singuluma was fouled inside the area.

Esperance emerged from a lengthy half-time break to find themselves on the back foot again as Mazembe sought the additional goals that would make the November 13 second leg near Tunis academic.

A third goal arrived after 56 minutes courtesy of Singuluma, whose powerful near-post header gave the Tunisian goalkeeper no chance and the crowd began a victory party.

Singuluma scored again just two minutes later, turning well to fire home a fourth goal, and Kasongo completed the rout 16 minutes from the end of a game Esperance will want to forget quickly.

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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Belgium: Anderlecht beat Genk in top clash

(GSM) – Anderlecht are three points closer to the top of the Belgian Pro League following a 1-2 victory at leaders Genk.

Genk had a five-point lead to defend in Sunday’s home game with reigning champions Anderlecht, and the hosts hoped to extend their lead to a very comfortable eight points.

Anderlecht had a perfect start to this game as Sacha Kljestan scored the opening goal after just nine minutes.

Thomas Buffel equalised in the 22nd, but Romelo Lukaku restored Anderlecht’s lead eight minutes after the break, 1-2.

Standard Liege meanwhile, were held to a 2-2 draw at Club Brugge. Ronald Vargas scored both home goals, while Jeroen Simaeys (own goal) and Gohi Bi Cyriac did so for the visiting side.

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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Turkey: Besiktas end losing streak

(GSM) – Besiktas finally ended their losing streak in the Turkish Super Lig, with a 2-1 victory over Sivasspor on Sunday.

After losing their previous three games, the pressure was on for Besiktas to get a positive result from their home match with Sivasspor.

Bobo handed the Istanbul side a good start, opening the scoring after just five minutes. Necip Uysal added another goal in the 23rd minute.

Ricardo Pedriel then score back for Sivasspor in minute 67, but Besiktas held on to their lead for three valuable points.

Besiktas are now in sixth place, at eight points from leaders Bursaspor. Sivasspor, who spend several seasons near the top of the league, are in a disappointing 16th spot.

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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Russia: Zenit cruise to victory

(GSM) – Zenit St. Petersburg returned to winning ways in the Russian Premier League, beating Alaniya Vladikavkaz 3-0 on Sunday.

Former PSV Eindhoven striker Danko Lazovic put Zenit in the lead after 17 minutes, and in-form Alexander Kerzhakov doubled that advantage shortly before the break.

Kerzhakov went on to score a third home goal in the 52nd minute, more than enough to end Alaniya’s resistance.

Zenit are six points ahead of second-placed Rubin Kazan and have a game in hand.

Third-placed CSKA Moskva dropped points at Saturn, where the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Tomas Necid did score the opener for CSKA in the 39th minute but Alexei Ivanov leveled right after the interval.

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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Juve lose duo to injury

(GSM) – Juventus’ Milan win has come at a huge cost following injuries to winger Jorge Martínez and left-back Paolo De Ceglie that will see them out of action for two and three months respectively.

Martínez, who was replaced by Mohamed Sissoko in the second half at San Siro, has fractured a bone in his left foot.

A surgery in the next few days would see the former Catania player out of action for at least two months.

De Ceglie, who was taken off four minutes before the interval following a clash with Milan defender Daniele Bonera, has fractured his left knee.

Despite, a surgery decision pending, the injury would see him sidelined for three months.

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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Hoeness: We will break the bank for Bastian

(GSM) – Bayern München president Uli Hoeness has expressed his willingness to break the bank in a bid to convince Bastian Schweinsteiger to commit his future to the club.

The 26-year-old, whose contract expires in 2012, recently expressed an interest in the Premier League.

And if the Germany international fails to commit to Bayern, he could be sold for a cut-price fee next summer.

But Hoeness has told Schweinsteiger to name his price for a new contract.

”Bastian certainly knows what he has got here,” he told LIGA total television.

”It is not like he is going to have to sign up for benefits. If our guys need more money from the board, then they will get it. We will not be tight because we know exactly how important he is for us.”

Hoeness also warned interested clubs to keep their hands off because they will not be able to compete.

”The guys from Real (Madrid) tried it with Franck Ribery and all they got was a bloody nose,” he said. ”Everybody in Europe has got to start learning what they are up against with Bayern, and that it is not so easy (to sign our players).”

However, Schweinsteiger maintained that he did not know what would happen regarding his contract and expressed his admiration for the Premier League.

“I love the kind of speed of the English game but I don’t know what will happen with me,” he told the Sunday Times. “I have a contract until 2012 and we’ll see.

“What I love is the atmosphere in English stadiums. When we played last year in Manchester it was fantastic. My brother is a big fan of Man U and he always says, ‘Go to Man U, go to Man U.’ I say, ‘I can’t, I can’t. I watch the English games on TV and I like the Chelsea style at the moment. They’re very strong.”

The midfielder also claimed he admires the loyalty of the English supporters.

“For me, in England the fans are better,” he added. “When the team give their best, they are not booing. It’s more like they are fans more with the heart.”

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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Rooney out for five weeks

(GSM) – Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he expects striker Wayne Rooney to be out of action for another five weeks with an ankle problem.

The England international has not played since the 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion on October 16, when he came on a substitute for the final 20 minutes.

He was then ruled out of the Champions League clash with Bursaspor a few days later after suffering an injury in training, as talk over his future at the club dominated the headlines.

The striker has already been sidelined for almost a fortnight with an injury that was initially expected to keep him out for just three weeks.

Ferguson admitted on Friday that he would be out for longer and the England striker is now not likely to be back until early December.

“I think Wayne Rooney will be out for another five weeks,” said Ferguson.

“He’ll have to pick up his fitness again. I would think five weeks should be about right.”

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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Hughton remains silent over Magpies future

(GSM) – Newcastle United boss Chris Hughton remained tight-lipped regarding contractual talks with the club after a 5-1 derby day rout of Sunderland.

Hughton, who had received a backing from the club with a statement confirming their intention to renegotiate his deal, has yet to settle his future at St James Park.

Despite the backing, which was interpreted in some circles as the dreaded vote of confidence, Hughton’s players gave a huge lift to his case when they tore Black Cats apart to leapfrog them in the Premier League table.

Asked if the rousing win had added firepower to his armoury, the 51-year-old said: “My position is no different this week to what it was last week and the week before.

“I am manager of this football club and very proud to be manager of this football club, and I am endeavouring to get the best results possible, and we were able to do that today.

“My position is no different. Those decisions are always down to the club, as they always have been.

“My remit at this moment is to do the best job that I can. I am incredibly proud of a group of players today who made a very, very difficult game comfortable at times for them.”

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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Rossi salvages point for Villarreal

Villarreal needed a stoppage time penalty from Giuseppe Rossi to salvage a 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon on Sunday as they lost ground on Spanish league leaders Real Madrid.

Italian international forward Rossi, 23, celebrated his 100th league appearance for Villarreal by converting a spot-kick in the dying seconds for his sixth league goal of the season to cancel out Diego Castro’s 68th minute opener.

Third-placed Villarreal extend their unbeaten league run to eight games but fall three points behind pacesetters Real Madrid and two behind Barcelona in second.

“We deserved to win when you look at the game as a whole,” said Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido. “Sporting have a good coach and good players and it is never easy to win here.”

In other matches, Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 at home to strugglers Almeria on Sunday and lie down in sixth ahead of next weekend’s derby against leaders Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Argentine Sergio “Kun” Aguero put Atletico in front on 33 minutes but compatriot Pablo Piatti levelled for the visitors on the stroke of half-time.

Atletico had no response and the draw means the Europa League holders have taken four points from the last 12 in the league and lie nine points behind their next opponents Real Madrid.

Earlier on Sunday, Deportivo La Coruna finally recorded their first win of the season and did it in style with a 3-0 home victory over Espanyol at the Riazor Stadium.

Goals from Adrian Alvarez and centre-backs Alberto Lopo and Diego Colotto helped Depor move off the bottom of the table – with winless Real Zaragoza slumping to the foot of the table – with their maiden win.

Elsewhere promoted Real Sociedad moved up to ninth in the table with a 2-1 win at stuggling Malaga who lie third from bottom.

On Saturday Barcelona thrashed Sevilla 5-0 at Camp Nou to stay within a point of leaders Real Madrid and midfielder Xavi Hernandez said the consistency of Real was pushing them on.

“They (Real) are doing things very well and that stimulates us,” said Xavi. “We won?t get into a war of words with (Jose) Mourinho we want a war on the pitch.”

Real are unbeaten under coach Jose Mourinho and came from behind to win 3-1 at Hercules and retain top spot in the Spanish first division.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late brace to make it 11 league goals for the season to top the goal-scoring charts four ahead of Barcelona?s Lionel Messi.

“I?m in great form and having a phenomenal run,” said Ronaldo. “I am scoring goals and I?m happy because we are still leading the table.”

Sun 31 Oct, 2010
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