No Liverpool bid for Damiao; Cardiff sign Kevin Theophile-Catherine

Internacional president Giovanni Luigi played down speculation linking Leandro Damiao with a move to Liverpool.

Internacional president Giovanni Luigi played down speculation linking Leandro Damiao with a move to Liverpool, insisting the Reds have not made an offer for the Brazil international, Sky Sports understands.

Damiao, 24, has been linked with a move to Tottenham on several occasions over the past few seasons, but Andre Villas-Boas has surely ended his pursuit of the Brazilian talisman following the signing of Roberto Soldado from Valencia CF.

Recent reports have claimed Liverpool are considering a move for the highly-rated 24-year-old striker, with speculation continuing to link Luis Suarez with Real Madrid.

However, Luigi has revealed the Reds have not contacted him regarding Damiao.

“There is nothing,” Luigi told Zero Hora. “Liverpool never made any offer, and I have never received a phone call from them.

“I don’t even know if they could afford to sign Leandro Damiao.

“The Zenit [St Petersburg] story was strong some time ago, but later they never talked about Leandro Damiao. Tottenham talked with me on January 30 and 31, then never again.”

Since breaking into the Internacional side in 2010, Damiao, whose current contract — which includes a release clause of €60 million — expires on 30 September 2017, has scored 85 goals in 156 appearances in all competitions for Nação Vermelha.

Cardiff sign Kevin Theophile-Catherine

Premier League newboys Cardiff City have completed the signing of France Under-21 international defender Kevin Theophile-Catherine from Stade Rennais, according to the club’s official website, www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk.

Theophile-Catherine, 23, has signed a four-year contract at Cardiff City Stadium, becoming Malky Mackay’s seventh signing of the summer behind Andreas Cornelius, Gary Medel, John Brayford, Maximiliano Amondarain, Simon Moore and Steven Caulker.

“He is a good defender, he is someone we have tracked over the last year in France,” said Mackay.

“He is someone who has pace, is aggressive, and has good experience in the French top division, so he is someone we feel will be a good addition to our squad.”

The France Under-21 international reportedly cost the Bluebirds a fee in the region of £2 million.

In total, Cardiff have spent over £30 million this summer, having broken their transfer record on three occasions (Cornelius, Caulker, Medel), but it must be said that the Welsh club have spent their money wisely, as is evident by their last two Premier League results, a 3-2 win over Manchester City and a 0-0 draw to Everton.

The Bluebirds’ next English Premier League fixture is away to fellow top-flight newcomers Hull City A.F.C. at the KC Stadium on 14 September.

Sat 31 August, 2013
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Serie A: Juventus 4 Lazio 1

Juventus thrashed Lazio for the second time in two weeks as they earned a 4-1 win in their second Serie A outing of the season on Saturday.

Antonio Conte’s men defeated the Rome club 4-0 in the Supercoppa Italiana earlier this month, and looked set for a similarly comfortable outing when Arturo Vidal notched twice in the opening 26 minutes.

Miroslav Klose’s goal gave the visitors hope of a turnaround before the break, but further strikes from Mirko Vucinic and Carlos Tevez ensured the reigning Serie A champions would cruise to the win.

Both managers named unchanged teams following opening-day victories, and their charges responded by taking little time to get going in an entertaining start to the match.

Hernanes carved out the first real opportunity for the visitors, but could only shoot straight at Gianluigi Buffon having connected with a chipped ball over the Juve defence.

But the hosts replied in kind, with Vucinic denied by a fine piece of defending from Lorik Cana as he looked to get a shot off after Andrea Pirlo had played him through.

The crowd would not be forced to wait long for a goal, though, as Vidal opened the scoring with just 14 minutes on the clock.

The Chilean latched on to a fabulous chip over the defence from Paul Pogba and showed remarkable composure to poke the ball underneath opposition goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.

And 12 minutes later Vidal had his second courtesy of a cool side-footed finish after Leonardo Bonucci had walked up from the Juventus defence to play his colleague through on goal.

Lazio had, in truth, played a more prominent role in the game than the scoreline suggested, and so there was a sense of justice when Klose got on the scoresheet two minutes after Vidal’s second.

The German striker was the quickest to react to a rebound from a Hernanes effort and slotted expertly beyond Buffon to bring his team instantly back into the game.

The goalmouth action somewhat calmed down after that goal, though Lazio went close on two occasions as Antonio Candreva’s free-kick whistled past the post and Buffon had to be alert to keep out Hernanes’ drive.

Lazio ended the first half undoubtedly on top, but just four minutes after the restart the hosts’ two-goal advantage was restored.

Bonucci again provided the assist, chipping a long pass from the back into the path of Vucinic, who held
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off his man expertly on the turn before poking past Marchetti.

And Lazio’s task would become even more difficult on the hour mark as Hernanes, in a clear show of frustration, attempted to handle a cross from the left into the Juve goal and subsequently saw a deserved second yellow card.

Carlos Tevez almost rubbed salt in Lazio wounds in the 71st minute, only for his left-footed effort from the edge of the box to come back off the bar.

But the Argentinian would have his goal soon after, his third in as many games for his new club, as he swept the ball home from distance following an intelligent leave from Vucinic.

Sat 31 August, 2013
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Serie A: Juventus 4 Lazio 1

Juventus thrashed Lazio for the second time in two weeks as they earned a 4-1 win in their second Serie A outing of the season on Saturday.

Antonio Conte’s men defeated the Rome club 4-0 in the Supercoppa Italiana earlier this month, and looked set for a similarly comfortable outing when Arturo Vidal notched twice in the opening 26 minutes.

Miroslav Klose’s goal gave the visitors hope of a turnaround before the break, but further strikes from Mirko Vucinic and Carlos Tevez ensured the reigning Serie A champions would cruise to the win.

Both managers named unchanged teams following opening-day victories, and their charges responded by taking little time to get going in an entertaining start to the match.

Hernanes carved out the first real opportunity for the visitors, but could only shoot straight at Gianluigi Buffon having connected with a chipped ball over the Juve defence.

But the hosts replied in kind, with Vucinic denied by a fine piece of defending from Lorik Cana as he looked to get a shot off after Andrea Pirlo had played him through.

The crowd would not be forced to wait long for a goal, though, as Vidal opened the scoring with just 14 minutes on the clock.

The Chilean latched on to a fabulous chip over the defence from Paul Pogba and showed remarkable composure to poke the ball underneath opposition goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.

And 12 minutes later Vidal had his second courtesy of a cool side-footed finish after Leonardo Bonucci had walked up from the Juventus defence to play his colleague through on goal.

Lazio had, in truth, played a more prominent role in the game than the scoreline suggested, and so there was a sense of justice when Klose got on the scoresheet two minutes after Vidal’s second.

The German striker was the quickest to react to a rebound from a Hernanes effort and slotted expertly beyond Buffon to bring his team instantly back into the game.

The goalmouth action somewhat calmed down after that goal, though Lazio went close on two occasions as Antonio Candreva’s free-kick whistled past the post and Buffon had to be alert to keep out Hernanes’ drive.

Lazio ended the first half undoubtedly on top, but just four minutes after the restart the hosts’ two-goal advantage was restored.

Bonucci again provided the assist, chipping a long pass from the back into the path of Vucinic, who held off his man expertly on the turn before poking past Marchetti.

And Lazio’s task would become even more difficult on the hour mark as Hernanes, in a clear show of frustration, attempted to handle a cross from the left into the Juve goal and subsequently saw a deserved second yellow card.

Carlos Tevez almost rubbed salt in Lazio wounds in the 71st minute, only for his left-footed effort from the edge of the box to come back off the bar.

But the Argentinian would have his goal soon after, his third in as many games for his new club, as he swept the ball home from distance following an intelligent leave from Vucinic.

Sat 31 August, 2013
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CSL Wrap: Top three all fall, as Evergrande streak comes to an end

Chinese Super League leaders Guangzhou Evergrande fell to their first defeat of the season as they lost 1-0 to Tianjin Teda on Saturday.

Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu’s effort in the 16th minute went unmatched by the visitors to the Tianjin Olympic Centre Stadium, who simply could not get past Alexandre Guimaraes’ determined side who sit just one point off the relegation zone.

The only relief for Evergrande was that the teams directly below them could not take advantage of the rare defeat as Shandong Luneng and Beijing Guoan fell to Shanghai Shenxin and Changchun Yatai respectively.

The loss for Beijing, which was their first in five, saw the capital club robbed of the points by Changchun’s Isac who fired home a brace to seal a 2-0 scoreline.

But Shandong’s loss was slightly more marginal as a 55th-minute effort from Jiawei Yang served to separate the teams as Radomir Antic saw his side throw away a three-match winning streak.

However, it is Beijing who will perhaps suffer the most from their blip with Guizhou Renhe hot on their tails after holding Dalian Aerbin to a 1-1 draw on Friday.

Gong Lei’s men are pushing for an AFC Champions League place and they are just a little closer after their draw, which came courtesy of an early goal from defender Zhang Chenglin and saw Dalian midfielder Seydou Keita dismissed.

The 33-year-old, who has scored six goals for his team this season, picked up his first red card since 2009 but the host side still managed to hold on despite the disadvantage.

But for Guizhou, they will still face a battle for the Champions League place from Guangzhou R and F who also managed to pick up a point in their goalless encounter with Jiangsu Sainty.

Elsewhere during the weekend’s action, Shanghai Shenhua continued their impressive run, which has now seen them win three in a row, against Wuhan Zall on Saturday.

However, despite the winner coming deep in stoppage time for Firas Al-Khatib to see his team earn a 2-1 victory, their return to form may just prove a little late as they sit eight points off the top-three spots.

The same can be said for Hangzhou whose win by the same score over Qingdao Jonoon, courtesy of goals from 29-year-old Song Wang, sees them move up to ninth place with seven games to play.

Sat 31 August, 2013
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League One Wrap: Orient win again, Peterborough run halted

Leyton Orient earned their first away victory over Colchester in 19 attempts to extend their 100 per cent start to the season on Saturday.

In-form striker David Mooney grabbed his fifth goal of the campaign as Kevin Lisbie also found the net for Russell Slade’s team to ensure the visitors would remain top of League One.

Colchester had been unbeaten going into that game, and they were joined in losing that record by Peterborough United, who came up short at London Road against Crawley Town in the first-ever meeting between the sides.

Crawley ran out 2-0 winners with veteran Gary Alexander finding the net on both occasions while the hosts, who had averaged three goals-a-game ahead of the fixture, failed to notch.

However, Crawley’s performance was overshadowed by the sending off of Michael Jones for two bookable offences.

Elsewhere, Mark Cooper’s Swindon followed up their midweek League Cup win over QPR by putting five past Crewe Alexandra at home, with Nile Ranger grabbing his second goal in as many games.

And Brentford could only take a 0-0 draw from their clash with Carlisle at Brunton Park, despite Greg Abbott’s side having yet to win a game this term.

Rock-bottom Coventry CIty moved closer to wiping out their ten-point penalty as they earned a 1-1 draw against Shrewsbury Town away from home.

At the other end of the table, high-flying Bradford City remain undefeated after Kyal Reid’s free-kick cancelled out Greg Tansey’s first-half penalty in a 1-1 draw with Stevenage.

Wolves fans were also treated to a successful away trip as they beat Port Vale 3-1, with Leigh Griffiths, Bjorn Sigurdarson and Kevin McDonald all netting inside the first 27 minutes.

But there was more disappointment for Sheffield United, who conceded an 87th-minute Antony Kay goal to suffer a 1-0 defeat to MK Dons at home.

In other matches, Notts County succumbed to their fifth defeat of the season, losing 1-0 to Rotherham, while Tranmere took a first victory of the campaign against Oldham Athletic and Bristol City drew away to Gillingham.

Preston North End, meanwhile, put three unanswered goals past a hapless Walsall side at Bescot Stadium.

Sat 31 August, 2013
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League Two Wrap: Chesterfield go top, Accrington rock bottom

Chesterfield climbed past Oxford United to the top of League Two on Saturday following a 2-0 win over 10-man Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Goals in the final five minutes from substitutes Armand Gnanduillet and Tendayi Darikwa sent Paul Cook’s side top after David Connolly had been dismissed seven minutes before the half-time break for violent conduct.

They leapfrogged Oxford, who drew 1-1 at home with Rochdale.

James Constable gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half but Matthew Lund earned a point for Rochdale with a goal five minutes after the interval.

Rock-bottom Accrington Stanley’s woes continued as they faced Burton Albion, who now occupy the third automatic promotion slot after Adam Reed’s stoppage-time strike saw them come away from the Crown Ground with a 1-0 win.

AFC Wimbledon’s strong start to the season was boosted further with a 2-0 home success over Fleetwood Town.

Harry Pell opened the scoring from the spot in the 42nd minute before Michael Smith’s goal on the stroke of half-time sealed the points.

Exeter City sit level with Wimbledon on 10 points from five games after they came from behind to beat York City 2-1 at St James’ Park.

Ryan Jarvis put York ahead in the 19th minute but Alan Gow equalised four minutes later and then bagged what proved to be the winner with 18 minutes left.

Southend United sit in the final play-off place, despite going down 2-1 at Wycombe Wanderers.

Dean Morgan put the hosts in front on seven minutes only to see the in-form Freddy Eastwood level the scores in the 14th minute with his third league goal of the season.

However, Steven Craig struck 13 minutes before half time to elevate Wycombe to 12th position.

Hartlepool United remain in the bottom two, but came away from a long trip to Torquay United with a point after a 0-0 draw, while league newcomers Newport County continued their solid start to the season with a 1-1 draw away to Scunthorpe United.

Mansfield Town, promoted alongside Newport last season, enjoyed a fine 3-0 home win over Dagenham and Redbridge and Bury were similarly comfortable, although they had to come from behind to beat Cheltenham Town 4-1 at Gigg Lane.

Andrew Procter put through his own net to give Cheltenham the lead inside five minutes, before Danny Mayor equalised five minutes later.

Procter then redeemed himself with a goal at the right end in the 12th minute, before Nathan Cameron added a third to cap an entertaining opening 17 minutes and substitue Jessy Reindorf put the gloss on the victory 14 minutes from time as Bury climbed to 10th.

Bristol Rovers sit just behind them following a 1-0 win over Northampton Town.

Tom Lockyer’s goal in the second minute proved the difference, and Northampton’s bad day was compounded when they saw Roy O’Donovan sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offence.

Morecambe jumped to 13th place after coming from behind to beat Plymouth Argyle 2-1 at home.

Reuben Reid put the visitors ahead from the spot in the 27th minute, but that lead lasted just two minutes as Kevin Ellison levelled the scores.

Padraig Amond then struck the winner six minutes from time to hand Morecambe the points.

Sat 31 August, 2013
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Cardiff City clinch Theophile-Catherine signature

Cardiff City have announced the signing of French defender Kevin Theophile-Catherine from Rennes.

The 23-year-old has signed a four-year deal with the Premier League outfit, becoming their seventh signing of a busy transfer window following promotion from the English second tier.

And following his side’s 0-0 draw with Everton, Cardiff boss Malky Mackay expressed delight over capturing the Frenchman’s signature.

“He (Theophile-Catherine) is someone we have tracked and watched for a period of time. He brings defensive strength and solidity to us,” he said.

“We have to make sure we have cover everywhere and that we have players who are pushing each other. Kevin brings that from a top division in French football.”

Theophile-Catherine, who is a product of Rennes’ youth academy, made 29 appearances for the Ligue 1 side last term.

He has also been capped by France at Under-20 and Under-21 level.

Sat 31 August, 2013
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Premier League: Crystal Palace 3 Sunderland 1

Dwight Gayle’s late penalty earned Crystal Palace a 3-1 victory over 10-man Sunderland to give them their first points of the season.

The striker was brought down by John O’Shea, who was subsequently dismissed, in the 78th minute and converted from the spot for his first Palace goal.

Steven Fletcher looked to have earned Sunderland a point with a second-half header that cancelled out Danny Gabbidon’s early goal.

The Scotland international, who has spent the last five months on the sidelines with an ankle injury, rose to meet a Jack Colback cross and head past Julian Speroni.

Substitute Stuart O’Keefe secured the victory with a third goal late on, taking advantage of the room in Sunderland’s defence to fire home.

Palace named an unchanged side for their second home game of the season, with Paolo Di Canio making three changes to Sunderland.

A hamstring injury ruled Jozy Altidore out while Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner were both left out by the Italian.

Connor Wickham replaced Altidore, with Ji Dong-Won and David Vaughan also coming in.

The hosts got off to a perfect start with the opening goal in just the ninth minute.

Jose Campana delivered a corner into a congested penalty area, Kagisho Dikgacoi challenged for the ball at the back post and Gabbidon got the faintest of flicks to send the ball past Keiren Westwood.

Ian Holloway’s side dominated much of the opening period but failed to add to their lead going into the break, with Jason Puncheon and Mile Jedinak posing a real threat to Westwood’s goal.

Fletcher made his long-awaited return from injury as a half-time replacement for Ji, and the Scot immediately gave the visitors more of a presence in attack.

It took the 26-year-old 19 minutes to make an impact as he levelled with a well-taken header from Colback’s cross.

The striker evaded the attentions of Jedinak to head home from an unmarked position inside the penalty area – his ninth goal away from home for Sunderland.

With 12 minutes to play, O’Shea gave Palace a lifeline as he brought down Gayle inside the penalty area, the Ireland international lunging for the ball but catching the striker.

O’Shea was sent off by referee Lee Probert and Gayle made no mistake from the spot, his penalty squirming under Westwood for his first goal in the top flight.

O’Keefe added a third in stoppage time, the 22-year-old curling his shot past Westwood from the edge of the penalty area to cap an important win for Palace.

Sat 31 August, 2013
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Pardew unsure over Cabaye future

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew admitted Yohan Cabaye’s future remains unclear after he returned to the squad on Saturday.

Cabaye came off the bench during Saturday’s 1-0 home win over Fulham, and afterwards Pardew urged the player’s agent to make a decision.

The France international reportedly refused to play after Newcastle rejected a bid from Arsenal for his services, and Pardew is eager to replace Cabayer, if he is to leave

“We’ve told his agent ‘come on, play the game’ because we’ve got to replace him,” he said.

“And we can’t afford to replace him before he goes because we’re not sure he is going to go. So that bid needs to come in – if it’s coming in – early, if not it won’t happen.

“Well I think it won’t happen but you can never tell with this football club. We’ve got replacements in mind but we need to act quickly if that bid comes in.

“We still hope to get an offensive player in and we’re working towards that.”

Cabaye replaced Vurnon Anita midway through the second half and was greeted with a mixed reception from the Newcastle fans.

After the game, Pardew explained his reasons for starting with Cabaye on the bench.

“Because Anita and Moussa (Sissoko) I thought were terrific against West Ham last week,” he said.

“I have to be fair to all my squad. I’m not going to suddenly put in a player, as great as Yohan is, straight into my team. So he had to wait his time and I think he made a really good contribution.

“I think the fans called it right today.

“I think half of our fans were more or less saying ‘we’re not sure about what you’ve done’ and the other half were just pleased to see him and I think that was fair.

“But to be fair to Yohan, because he’s so focused on his game, he put that all to one side and came on and played a normal game for us.

“And that takes some doing, trust me, so hats off to him for doing that.”

Sat 31 August, 2013
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Jol: Fulham deserved a point

Fulham manager Martin Jol lamented his side’s inability to snatch a point after losing 1-0 at Newcastle United on Saturday.

Hatem Ben Arfa struck in the 86th minute to snatch three points for Newcastle in an otherwise tense afternoon at St James’ Park.

The match replicated the same fixture from last season, which saw Papiss Cisse score a fortunate 90th-minute goal to smuggle the points away for Alan Pardew’s side.

Jol insisted his side had dominated the game, but was left frustrated as they failed to convert their pressure into goals.

He said: “I don’t think it was tough. I thought we could have done a lot of damage today to get the points on the board.

“In midfield we played it in a little bit of a different style, but I think the only thing we can be critical of is I don’t think we had the cutting edge.

“We had three or four situations where we could have punished them. It was almost too easy.

“In the second half we looked a bit tired and they put their pressure on and started to put all their defenders behind the ball.

“Of course, last year was the same when they scored one goal and they were over the moon and they thought they played great – but they didn’t. We should have had at least a point today.”

Sat 31 August, 2013
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