Coupe de la Ligue wrap: Aliadiere brace send Lorient through

A Jeremie Aliadiere double helped Lorient through to the fourth round of the Coupe de la Ligue on Tuesday.

The former Arsenal and Middlesbrough striker’s goals helped his side win 3-2 in extra time against Guingamp in a highly entertaining match.

Moroccan Alharbi El Jadeyaoui scored an 11th minute opener for Ligue 2 outfit Guingamp at their Sade de Roudourou, but the hosts then conceded just before the hour-mark, via Antony Knochaeart’s own goal.

But Charly Charrier scored just two minutes later as Guingamp restored their one-goal advantage and they looked like winning until Aliadiere’s first goal, scored with six minutes to play.

He had only been introduced off the bench after 54 minutes and his strike sent the match to extra time, before he grabbed his second on 113 minutes to send his team through to the next round.

Tuesday’s other match saw Auxerre win 2-1 at Nancy in an all-Ligue 1 affair.

Anthony Le Tallec scored after 50 minutes for Auxerre, but the lead lasted just five minutes before Samba Diakite levelled.

Benin midfielder Omar Kossoko bagged a 74th minute winner for Auxerre, while their opponents had Diakite sent off as the match drew to a close.

Wed 31 August, 2011
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Carling Cup wrap: Southampton ease through

Southampton progressed to the third round of the Carling Cup with a 3-1 win over Swindon Town at County Ground on Tuesday.

Southampton have made a flying start to life in the Championship since their promotion from League One, with four wins from their first five matches propelling them to second on the table.

And they continued that form at Swindon, with the win set-up in the first 30 minutes thanks to goals from Guilherme and Jonathan Forte.

Mehdi Kerrouche pulled a goal back for Swindon with six minutes to play but substitute Rickie Lambert made sure of the win with his stoppage time strike.

But the attention was taken off the win after a scuffle between Swindon boss Paulo Di Canio and striker Leon Clarke, who tussled with each other on the edge of the pitch before a fight allegedly broke out in the tunnel.

Southampton’s reward for winning the match is a home tie against Preston in the third round.

In Tuesday’s other matches, Leyton Orient booked a trip to English Premier League strugglers Blackburn in the next stage of the competition after they beat Bristol Rovers 3-2, with Irish midfielder Stephen Dawson netting the winner four minutes into stoppage time.

Aldershot will also feature in the third round after a 2-0 home win over Carlisle United, thanks to a Michael Rankine strike and a Danny Livesey own goal.

Wed 31 August, 2011
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Juve aiming for Champions League return

New Juventus signing Andrea Pirlo believes winning a Champions League place next season is a ‘basic objective’ for the club.

The 32-year-old midfielder joined the likes of Arturo Vidal and Mirko Vucinic as new arrivals in Turin this season as Juve hope to improve on their seventh-place finish in the Serie A last term.

With only the top two sides in Serie A gaining automatic entry to Europe’s premier club competition, and the third going through the qualifiers, Juventus will need to improve, but that is something Pirlo is confident his team will do.

“The most important thing for Juventus, Inter Milan or AC Milan is to try to win and reach the Champions League,” Pirlo said.

“These are the basic objectives. We know that we’re working in order to reduce the gap and we’re sure we’ll be able to do it thanks to our everyday work. All players want to start winning again, therefore this is a real objective.”

Pirlo also explained the reasons for his switch from AC Milan to Juve, saying he needed a new challenge.

“I had decided to leave since I needed to find other incentives: after 10 years I couldn’t feel the willingness to do something special anymore,” he said.

“When I started to feel like this, I decided to change since I still want to play and win. I’ll make another experience and this is a choice I’ve made on my own.”

Wed 31 August, 2011
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Rooney eyes Euro goals

Wayne Rooney is hopeful he can carry his scoring touch from the Premier League into England’s upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Rooney scored a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 8-2 trouncing of Arsenal on Sunday, and the 25-year-old striker is looking to re-produce that form for his country.

England play Bulgaria in Sofia on Friday before hosting Wales at Wembley next week.

“It’s always great to be in good form and to be scoring goals and hopefully that form can continue in the next two games,” Rooney said.

“I’m looking forward to getting back playing for England and hoping to do well and hoping to help get us the points we need.”

Rooney also said he was not dwelling on the Arsenal result, believing it important for both he and Gunners winger Theo Walcott to focus fully on national team duties.

“Obviously it was a great result for us and obviously disappointing for Arsenal but we’re here to concentrate on England and we want Theo at his best so we don’t really want him to remember that result,” Rooney said.

With riots in London causing the cancellation of a scheduled friendly with the Netherlands earlier this month, Friday’s clash with Bulgaria will be the first time England have played since a draw with Switzerland in June.

And Rooney is expecting a stern test from the upcoming encounters.

“I think it will be a really tough game Bulgaria away,” he said.

“I’m sure it will be a good atmosphere and a good game to come away with three points but that’s got to be our aim to try and get the three points there.”

“Wales are a good team but you’d like to think we’ve got enough to beat them at home. Hopefully we can come out of these two games with six points.”

Tue 30 August, 2011
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Loew keeps faith in Lahm

Germany coach Joachim Loew has confirmed that Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm will remain captain of the national team.

Loew revealed discussions had taken place with Lahm to address the player’s autobiography, in which the 27-year-old criticised several ex-national coaches, including Loew.

Though he reproached Lahm for making such statements during his playing career, Loew has decided to keep faith in his captain.

“Yesterday evening there was a conversation between the coaches, Philipp, and (managing director) Oliver Bierhoff,” Loew told reporters.

“I personally find it unfortunate that as a current player, he publicly judges coaches.”

He added: “There was no discussion of whether he will be stripped of his captaincy.”

Lahm’s autobiography is due for release on Monday.

Tue 30 August, 2011
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Parker on cusp of Spurs switch

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has confirmed that the north London club are close to signing Scott Parker from West Ham.

Parker, who was left out of West Ham’s squad for the meeting with Nottingham Forest at the weekend, handed in his transfer request to the Championship club.

Redknapp has now stated that a deal is on the verge of being completed.

“It’s very, very close to being done,” he told Sky Sports News. “It’s not too far away now, hopefully it’ll be done today.

“It’s fantastic. He’s a good player, he’s what we need. He’s a good lad with a great attitude, and he was footballer of the year last season.”

“He’ll be a good addition to the team, there’s no doubt about that. He’s a good character, a fantastic person. He’s a proper family man and a real good pro so he’ll be great around the place for us.”

“We don’t envisage too many problems now, it should be a deal which gets completed, so it’s fingers crossed now.”

When asked if he knew any more about deals for Alan Hutton, currently attracting interest from Aston Villa, or Stoke and Sunderland target Peter Crouch, Redknapp stated: “No, I saw it come up that Villa are interested.”

“Alan’s a good player, he’s away playing for Scotland and Alex McLeish knows him, so it might well be a possibility I suppose.”

“He’s still here, Peter. Again, there’s a few clubs that want him, but we’ll have to wait and see with that one.”

“It’s up to Crouchy, I’ve had him at a few clubs. He’s a good player and a great guy as well but I suppose with (Emmanuel) Adebayor coming in, and it is an area that we are overloaded in, and he’s one that people want so if we’ve got to do something then it is a possibility.”

Tue 30 August, 2011
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Sevilla chief chides La Liga imbalance

Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido has slammed La Liga administrators for supposed favouritism showed to Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Del Nido claims that recent negotiations over radio rights threaten to further dilute the competition’s quality in favour of benefiting the two biggest clubs in Spanish football.

The chief spoke out after a deal was finalised which will oblige Spanish radio stations to pay for coverage of La Liga, on the back of a weekend which saw Real Madrid and Barcelona crush their opposition 6-0 and 5-0 respectively.

For Del Nido, those in charge of La Liga have consistently taken decisions which ensure Barca and Real receive the largest rewards from the league’s commercial arrangements, including the most recent ruling.

“The reality is that they have chosen a terrible decision in order to continue widening the difference between the big clubs and the rest: to charge the radios,” Del Nido told Radio Nacional de Espana on Tuesday.

“For the love of God, are there any fans not saying that the league is prostituted, adulterated, corrupted?”

“The radio income will be another scrap to make the biggest clubs bigger and the rest even smaller.”

“Our tournament is not just the biggest joke in Europe, but in the world. It is a third-world league in which two clubs take the others’ television money,” he concluded.

Tue 30 August, 2011
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Birmingham owner granted bail

Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung has been granted permission to travel to Britain while he awaits trial on money laundering charges.

A bail of over one million US dollars was paid after the Hong Kong businessman’s previous bid for release failed amid fears he would abscond.

Yeung will meet with new Birmingham manager Chris Hughton and the rest of the squad during the five days he will spend in the country.

The tycoon took over at St Andrews in 2009, soon after Birmingham were promoted to the Premier League.

The club won Carling Cup last season to secure qualification for the UEFA Europa League, but returned to the Championship after being relegated from the English top flight.

Yeung has been under arrest since June and is accused of laundering over 90 million US dollars. His trial is set to take place next year.

Tue 30 August, 2011
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Buffon anger at Serie A strike

Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has revealed his frustration over the strike that has delayed the start of the Serie A season.

A breakdown between players and Italian football authorities in finalising a new collective bargaining agreement is the cause of the strike.

Although 33-year-old Buffon admits neither group is to blame for the impasse, he believes both parties need to show some common sense to resolve the dispute.

“I think there isn’t just one person responsible, we are all guilty because it has been a defeat for everyone,” Buffon said.

“Having said that, it’s also true that with a little bit of common sense and collaboration we probably would have managed to find an agreement, sign it and play the season’s first match.”

Buffon said that he and the rest of his team-mates are anxious to get the season underway, and revealed he thinks there are higher powers at work behind the deadlock.

“We really want to sign the agreement as soon as possible,” he said. “We had already reached an agreement several months ago and now, unbelievably, a U-turn has been done on the decision made.”

“This U-turn makes us think a lot of things. First of all, with all the problems we have in Italy – reformations, political problems and so on – I think there was a wish to distract people and give football and the player’s too many responsibilities.”

“If a country such as Italy is making such a big fuss over football, it means it isn’t a country with a very bright future.”

Tue 30 August, 2011
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Blatter: FIFA targeted by England vendetta

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has accused England of seeking to destroy world football’s governing body.

The English Football Association were among the leading voices calling for reform after allegations of corruption were levelled against members of the FIFA executive committee earlier this year.

Former English FA chairman David Triesman accused FIFA executives of seeking bribes in exchange for supporting England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup.

Other FIFA executives also came under scrutiny during a UK parliamentary enquiry into further corruption claims.

When asked about FIFA’s battered reputation, Blatter accused England of jealousy and a vendetta dating back to the removal of Englishman Sir Stanley Rous from the FIFA presidency in 1974.

“This animosity comes from England,” Blatter was quoted as saying by Brazilian newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo.

“See the timing of the accusations (against FIFA by Triesman) – it was precisely when they lost the right to host the 2018 World Cup.”

“Three weeks before the election for president, the charges emerged. You know, I’ll tell the truth. All this is still a revenge for having lost the presidency of FIFA in 1974 to Joao Havelange.”

“They still do not accept that they no longer control FIFA. Since they could not regain the presidency, they decided they would destroy it.”

With one-time presidential candidate Mohammed Bin Hammam banned from FIFA after being found guilty of corruption, Blatter conceded some members of the organisation have acted inappropriately.

But the 75-year-old Swiss promised that action was being taken to address issues within FIFA’s ranks.

“What I have to say about it is this – we have bad losers in FIFA,” he said.

“We must say that some key players in FIFA have not acted well. But we have begun to act. Now, I ask that the press gives us some time to implement the measures we are developing. On October 21 I will announce (new) measures.”

Tue 30 August, 2011
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