Kosmina wanted Reds goal glut

Adelaide United coach John Kosmina was disappointed not to see his team score more goals in their dominant 3-0 win over Sydney on Monday.

The Reds were so dominant and attacking over the 90 minutes at Hindmarsh Stadium, they really should have won by more.

Dario Vidosic struck a first-half brace before narrowly missing a swag of second-half hat-trick opportunities, with a gettable near-miss just after resumption, a free-kick that smacked the crossbar and another attempt denied by the right upright in the dying minutes.

Strikers Evan Kostopoulos and Bruce Djite also hit the woodwork as United routinely swarmed the inexperienced and undermanned Sky Blues.

“The only thing I didn’t like about it, I suppose, is we didn’t get more goals,” Kosmina said.

“We had an opportunity to make up for the six (6-1 loss) we copped the other week (against Western Sydney) and square the ledger, at least on goal difference.

“Sydney had a young team out there, relatively inexperienced, and we could have got more out of it.

“We hit the woodwork three times so that makes six that we lost the other week.”

While a rare opportunity to really fill their boots went begging, Adelaide nevertheless recaptured some lost form and momentum with the victory.

“We kept a clean sheet and we put two halves of football together,” Kosmina said.

“The fact is we went on with the first half and created a lot of opportunities in the second.

“With any luck we could have had seven or eight or even more.”

Leading the way in attack for the Reds was red-hot Vidosic, whose two goals lifted him to a team-high eight for the season.

“Great, really good,” Kosmina said of Vidosic’s performance.

“He was really unlucky not to get a hat-trick.”

The only real downer for the Reds was defender Nigel Boogaard being substituted off at the 64-minute mark with a hamstring injury.

He is in some doubt for United’s away clash with the Newcastle Jets on Saturday.

“I didn’t want Bogy to come off,” Kosmina said.

“At 2-0, the two centre backs (Boogaard and Iain Fyfe) were doing a good job … winning most of the stuff in the air.

“It just panned out that way because Bogy’s hamstring tightened up.

“We’re going to have a look at it in the next couple of days and make a decision.”

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed

Farina laments shocking Sydney

Sydney FC coach Frank Farina joked that he could have played well for Adelaide United in their 3-0 hammering of his team on Monday.

The former Socceroo player and coach made the boast with tongue firmly in cheek after watching Sydney’s comprehensive defeat at Hindmarsh Stadium.

The visitors were fortunate not have lost by an even greater margin, with four Adelaide attempts hitting the woodwork.

“I think I could have played out there with a red shirt on,” 48-year-old Farina said.

“We fell into that hole initially and then they got the penalty.

“It was a battle from then on.

“The third one (goal) was just a bad mistake from us and it became virtually a training run for them.”

Facing probable finals contenders in their own backyard, desperate to arrest a two-game slide, was never going to be an easy task for Farina’s youthful side, comprising almost half a dozen teenagers and missing several senior players.

Italian veteran Alessandro Del Piero headlined the list of sidelined Sky Blues, including Jason Culina, Paul Reid, Ivan Necevski, Fabio, Pascal Bosschaart and Krunoslav Lovrek.

“To be brutally honest, we were outplayed,” Farina said.

“We were ‘out-experienced’.

“We only had Brett (Emerton) and (captain) Terry (McFlynn) on the park who you would call experienced players.

“When the 16-year-olds start to be your better players, it shows we’re lacking players at the moment and lacking experience.

“As we know in football, when a team gets a goal, their intensity and adrenalin rises and yours goes a bit flat.

“When you’ve got a lot of young players, it’s hard for them to rally and get going.

“It’s giving young players an opportunity but at the same time a lesson in the brutality of football and how it can be, because we could have lost by seven or eight.”

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed

Arnold hopes to keep Rogic

Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold has not given up hope of retaining rising star Tomas Rogic in the face of reported interest from Europe.

The Mariners did without Rogic, who was suspended, and made four other changes but still secured a 1-0 victory over Perth Glory in Gosford on Monday.

Promising midfielder Rogic has been heavily linked with a switch to English Premier League club Reading, while Serie B side Ascoli are also rumoured to be interested.

While some media outlets have reported the departure of Rogic as all but a done deal, Arnold is not giving hope of keeping his precocious playmaker.

“At this moment in time I’d say it is (a possibility) that he’d stay. There hasn’t been 100 percent confirmation of an offer,” Arnold said.

“I read where the CEO of Reading Nick Hammond had come out and said they were interested. They have seen Tommy before. Tommy went over there after he won the Nike Challenge and Reading wanted to sign him. They know what Tommy’s about.

“Until something is official he is a Mariners player.”

Arnold is even more confident about keeping hold of goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who trialed with Tottenham Hotspur earlier this year.

“At this stage … Ryan is 100 percent staying because there is nothing concrete, no firm offer,” he said.

“(The) January transfer window is always a nervous time for coaches, especially here when you have got top young kids that are doing what they are doing.

“For me it’s a privilege if there is 100 percent interest in those kids from overseas and Europe and if they do go overseas I’ll be extremely disappointed, but on the other hand I’d be proud of them as individuals.”

Focusing on the result, which sees the league-leading Mariners maintain a two-point buffer ahead of second-placed Adelaide, Arnold was full of praise for players such as midfielder Oliver Bozanic and stand-in captain Michael McGlinchey.

“When you have a performance like that, and Bozanic comes in and does extremely well in the middle of the park, it puts a lot of pressure on the guys that are out of the team and now they have got to get back in the team,” he said.

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed

Ferguson questions Ibini winner

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson says Bernie Ibini’s winning goal should not have been allowed after watching his team go down 1-0 at the Central Coast Mariners on Monday.

Ferguson felt aggrieved at the nature of the Mariners’ winner but also admitted his side, who finished the game with 10 men, were their own worst enemy at times in the A-League match.

The decisive goal arrived in the 68th minute, when substitute Bernie Ibini latched onto a cross from Oliver Bozanic.

The 20-year-old striker then got the better of Glory defender Scott Jamieson before controlling the ball with his chest and striking it home with his left foot.

However, Ferguson felt the young forward gained an unfair advantage in the build-up play.

“I felt he (Ibini) was all over Jamieson and he has used his hand to get the ball round to him and score the goal,” he said.

“It’s a tough one for referee to see, and linesman, because they are blind-sided, but definitely a free kick.

“Referees make the decision, I’m just disappointed that we have lost to another bad goal if you like. Probably hand ball, but we don’t get it (the decision).

“To me it was a hand ball … definitely a hand ball.”

Ferguson had no complaints about the 76th-minute dismissal of Glory defender Bas van den Brink, and felt his team were wasteful during the narrow away defeat.

“He (Van den Brink) has not said anything so it’s looks as though it was probably a booking because he never said a word to me,” he said.

“It looks as though the second yellow card has got him sent off.”

“We had a lot of the play and a lot of possession in the first half.

“We had a great chance, a great opportunity for (Shane) Smeltz and he has put it by the post.

“Once he hits one or two the confidence will come back with him and hopefully we can start hitting the target again.”

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed

Premier League review 30th December 2012

Frank Lampard scored a brace in Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Everton yesterday

In yesterday’s Premier League games Chelsea won 2-1 at Everton’s Goodison Park. The home side made a strong start and were in the lead after less than two minutes.

Victor Anichebe’s powerful header struck the crossbar and South African midfielder Steven Pienaar was on hand to fire past Petr Cech in the Blues goal.

The Toffee’s were unlucky not to double their lead soon afterwards. Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic curled a superb free-kick over the Chelsea wall, only to see the ball strike the post and bounce clear.

Everton dominated the early exchanges and Petr Cech superbly denied Jelavic a second goal for the home side.

Chelsea slowly came back into the game and got their reward in the 42nd minute. Fernando Torres found Ramires, who fired in an excellent cross that found Frank Lampard, and the England international headed past Tim Howard in the Everton goal.

Everton nearly regained the lead in the second half, as Jelavic was unlucky yet again, hitting the crossbar with a powerful header from Leighton Baines. Chelsea managed to keep the home side out and in the 72nd minute struck at the other end.

Juan Mata’s initial effort was kept out by Howard, only for Lampard to follow up from close-range to fire home. Everton pushed forward and gave the visitors a few scares, but Rafa Benitez’s side held on to become the first opposition team to win at Goodison since March.

The victory moved Chelsea up to third place in the Premier League. Everton are still sixth in the league just three points behind fourth place Tottenham.

Future

As so many times in his Chelsea career Frank Lampard was hero yesterday. Despite his brace, the England international’s future at the club is in doubt. The 34 year-old is expected to leave this summer, with his contract expiring and the Blues not offering him fresh terms.

The Chelsea fans at Goodison yesterday made their feelings clear about what they thought of the club legend. They want the veteran to stay, but it looks unlikely that the Blues fans will get their wish.

Satisfied

Yesterday’s defeat was only Everton’s third loss in 29 Premier League matches. Everton boss David Moyes must be satisfied with the first half of his team’s season. The Toffee’s are still well placed to challenge for the Champions League places and playing some really good football.

Comfortable

Elsewhere yesterday Liverpool claimed a comfortable 3-0 victory at struggling QPR. The visitors were two goals ahead within 16 minutes, with Luis Suarez grabbing a brace. The Uruguayan opened the scoring on ten minutes, running at Clint Hill before firing past Julio Cesar in the Hoops goal.

The striker doubled his tally on 16 minutes, scoring from close-range after Rangers defender Nedum Onuoha had blocked his initial effort. The scoring was completed in the 28th minute. Steven Gerrard’s cross was headed home by centre-back Daniel Agger.

Gerrard was also denied a goal by a desperate goal line clearance by a combination of QPR defenders. The home side got slightly better in the second half, but Liverpool took their foot off the pedal and settled for three goals.

Relegation

This defeat put QPR eights points away from safety. Boss Harry Redknapp was brought in to save the club from relegation, but looks to have a struggle on his hands. A lot will depend on which players Harry Redknapp came bring in the upcoming transfer window.

Progress

The win at QPR doesn’t paint over the cracks at Liverpool. The Reds have been inconsistent this season and Brendan Rodgers will also be looking to strengthen his squad in the transfer window.

The imminent arrival of Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge will give Rodgers an extra attacking option, but Rodgers definitely needs to add extra quality in other positions. Liverpool are a work in progress and Reds fans will be hoping for better Premier League results in 2013, than in 2012.

Can Harry Redknapp save QPR from relegation this season?

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed

Balotelli going nowhere, insists Mancini

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes that striker Mario Balotelli will stay at the club.

That view has been backed up by Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola, who says his client will remain in blue for the foreseeable future.

Balotelli has been a controversial figure on and off the field ever since he signed for the club for 24 million pounds in 2010 from Inter.

The Italy international scored 13 goals in 23 appearances in the Premier League last season before shining at Euro 2012, but he has scored only once in the top flight in 2012-13 and continues to be dogged by disciplinary problems.

Despite his issues, Mancini revealed that the striker is still highly regarded by owner Sheikh Mansour.

“I think Mario will stay but the future depends mostly on him,” Mancini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Sheikh Mansour likes Balotelli because he recognises the talent and he exports the name of the City over the world.

“We need to consider that Mario was made as a major investment, and this is not a club that throws its capital through the window.”

Mancini says he remains fond of Balotelli having overseen his development at two clubs but has acknowledged that the 22-year-old must raise his standards of professionalism.

“The relationship between me and him is always good, even if one day he does something,” he said.

“I love him because for many years we live together. I’ve seen him grow. But the professional relationship is another thing and I’ve told Mario what I need from him.

“The time of cheap talk is over. Balotelli is 22 years old and now it’s time to be professional. I ask from him seriousness and commitment in training, a more stable private life and correct behaviour on the pitch.”

Balotelli’s agent Raiola insists his client will remain with the club despite his recent absence from the first team.

“Mario will not move now because there is no reason to change teams,” he said.

“He’s not playing because he was sick and because there have been discussions with Mancini. However, the situation is resolving.”

Meanwhile, Mancini has denied reports linking Joleon Lescott with a move away from the club in the January transfer window.

Lescott has lost his place in the heart of the City defence, despite being an England regular, with Mancini seemingly choosing Serbian youngster Matija Nastasic to partner Vincent Kompany at centre back.

Mancini even preferred Kolo Toure at centre back following an injury to the Manchester City captain a few weeks ago, leaving Lescott as fourth choice. But with Toure due to leave for the Africa Cup of Nations next weekend, Mancini is adamant that Lescott is not for sale.

“We can’t sell players,” Mancini said. “We won’t have enough to play if we sell.”

Lescott had been attracting the interests of a few clubs, with a return to Goodison Park suggested.

Mancini, however, still has Lescott in his plans for this season. The England defender has made only seven league starts this season, which is in stark contrast to last season where he established himself in the heart of City’s defence.

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed

A-League wrap: Mariners edge Glory, Adelaide cruise

A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners got back on the winners’ list after a 1-0 triumph against Perth Glory in Gosford on Monday.

Mariners youngster Bernie Ibini, on as a substitute, scored the winner on 68 minutes as the men in navy and yellow moved to 30 points after 14 games of the season.

Ibini chested down a cross from Oliver Bozanic before slotting home with the left foot for his third goal of the season.

To rub salt into the wound for the visitors, Perth defender Bas Van Den Brink will miss the visit of Sydney FC after he was sent off for two bookable offences.

Later, a Dario Vidosic masterclass piloted Adelaide United to a comprehensive 3-0 triumph over Sydney FC at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Classy Vidosic bumped his season goal tally to a team-high eight with two first-half strikes before Iain Ramsay potted one of the easiest goals of his career, which allowed United to snap their two-match losing skid and enter 2013 on a high.

Vidosic, with the expert assistance of Cassio and Marcelo Carrusca, ran rings around the visitors, whose midfield were run ragged all evening.

Central defender Iain Fyfe repeatedly took charge in the back third and Bruce Djite was in the thick of all the forward action.

The hamstrung Sky Blues were missing a host of players, including veteran Italian maestro Alessandro Del Piero, and were dealt an early body blow when veteran midfielder Adam Griffiths hobbled off in the 12th minute, replaced by Aaron Calver.

After a relatively tame opening, United soon seized complete control and bossed the visitors thoroughly for much of the contest.

Vidosic got the ball rolling in the 18th minute when, from the centre of the box, he nodded home a peach of a Carrusca cross past the outstretched clutches of Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic and into the corner of the net.

Ten minutes later, the Reds made it 2-0 after Djite was felled inside the 18-yard box by Sky Blues stopper Sebastian Ryall.

Referee Jarred Gillett spotted the infringement and dead-ball specialist Vidosic made no mistake, rifling the penalty straight down the guts, deceiving a prone Janjetovic.

Ramsay bagged the third in the 61st minute when he walked in a gift of a goal, poking one home from the deflection off Janjetovic, who was still semi-prone, having dived to save Djite’s shot seconds earlier.

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed

Pardew focusing on Premier League survival

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admits his first target this season is simply to keep the Magpies in the Premier League.

The club have played their part in two festive thrillers this week but came away with nothing despite scoring a combined six goals in defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal.

Those results have left Newcastle flirting with the danger zone in 15th place – after finishing fifth last campaign – although Pardew is convinced his side can turn their season around.

“I’ve never looked away from the bottom of the league, to be honest,” Pardew said. “Any Premier League manager outside of the top four or five clubs who says he doesn’t look at getting 40 points first is telling a fib.

“We are 20 points short at the moment so we’ve got a bit to do. We’ve got good players to come back and we’re going to make an impact in this league at some point.

“But we don’t want to leave it too late. My priority is to get my best team out on the pitch if I can. Steven Taylor and Yohan Cabaye will be back soon and that will help significantly.”

Pardew complained that their 7-3 hammering at the hands of Arsenal was founded in part by the longer break the Gunners had enjoyed having seen their Boxing Day match against West Ham cancelled.

“There was a definite difference between the two teams in terms of energy levels,” he said.

“And we didn’t really have enough defensive players on the bench to shore it up.

“We knew that this little run was going to be difficult when we got the fixtures in August. But the six or seven players we’ve got missing could have made a difference.”

Newcastle were dealt a further blow when reports claimed that Demba Ba, who has a release clause of around seven million pounds in his contract, would meet Chelsea regarding a proposed move to Stamford Bridge.

“Demba is out of my hands – there is nothing I can do about it,” Pardew said. “What will be, will be.”

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed

Benitez grateful for Club World Cup experience

Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez believes that the trip to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup has aided their recent run of good form.

The west London club lost the final of the competition against Corinthians 1-0 but have won all four of their matches since returning from Japan, including Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League victory over Everton at Goodison Park.

And the Spaniard believes the trip offered him more time to get his methods across to his players.

“The trip to Japan was important for us because we were together for a long time,” he told reporters.

“We had at least two or three training sessions where we could work on new things and you can see it working out. We are still making some mistakes that we have to manage, but the team is much better.

“What impresses me is the attitude of the players. They are keen to learn and train. I had a discussion with the staff today and we are really pleased with the way they work and train and behave each day – and that is important for the future.”

Chelsea were forced to come from behind to beat the Toffees following Steven Pienaar’s first-minute goal but the 52-year-old insists he never doubted his side’s chances.

“This was a great win for us,” he said.

“I didn’t fear the worst when they took the lead. We knew Everton would be tough but I had confidence in my players.

“The team showed the commitment, passion and quality against a good team. We made mistakes at the beginning but the reaction was really good. We put Ramires on the right side against Leighton Baines and he gave us a great game, too.”

The former Liverpool boss refused, however, to be drawn on his side’s chances of mounting a late challenge for the Premier League title.

“We are not watching the table too much. We have a game in hand but we still have to win it,” he said.

“Our idea is to approach the competition thinking about one game at a time. We will see where we are after some more games.”

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed

Clarke salutes ´typical grumpy Scot´ Ferguson

West Brom coach Steve Clarke has hailed the longevity of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson celebrates his 71st birthday on Monday and Clarke is full of admiration for a man he says remains ‘a typical grumpy Scot’.

Clarke was a teenager at St Mirren when the Govan-born boss was manager of the Scottish club and believes that his reign at Old Trafford – now in its 26th season – may never be matched.

“I don’t know if I’d last until 71,” Clarke said after West Brom’s 2-0 loss to the Premier League leaders on Saturday.

“The way the game has gone, it’s more short-term now and it will be really difficult, if not impossible, to match his achievements.

“It will be much harder to build a dynasty and be in a job as long as he has been. I’ve met a few grumpy 70-year-olds and he is a typical grumpy Scot. He hasn’t lost his hunger or his desire.

“I worked with Sir Bobby Robson at a similar age and he was maybe not quite as aggressive but he was the same. He had that determination and will to win. It’s great to see.”

United took the lead on Saturday through a Gareth McAuley own goal and sealed the points thanks to Robin van Persie’s 90th-minute effort.

Clarke admitted that he was disappointed to have left Manchester empty-handed but suggested that his frustration demonstrated the progress they have made in recent months.

“We’ve shown this season we are a good team,” Clarke said. “You don’t get 20 games in with the points and wins we have if you’re not a good team.

“I’m disappointed not to get anything from the game because I expected a positive result. Maybe it shows you where we are as a club and as a group and how much we think we have improved.”

Mon 31 December, 2012
RSS Feed