AEL remain top dogs with comfortable win

first_imgBy Iacovos ConstantinouAEL continued their impressive form in the league with a comfortable 2-0 win over Nea Salamina on Sunday thus maintaining their two point lead from fellow Limassolians Apollonas.The diminutive Bebe grabbed both goals for AEL, one in each half, who were in control of the game from start to finish. Nea Salamina were woeful and were lucky to be trailing by just a single goal in the first half.Apollonas had overtaken AEL at the top for 24 hours after a comprehensive 3-1 away win to Aek Kouklion on Saturday. Apollonas had raced to a 3-0 lead, with Greek striker Paboulis notching a couple before the home side replied with fifteen minutes to go.The team from Kouklia have now slipped closer towards the relegation zone, but still have a six point cushion from Paralimni who beat fellow strugglers Aris 4-1 to record only their second league win. Paralimni’s win gives them a glimmer of hope to gradually climb out of the relegation zone.Apoel continued their resurgence under Greek coach Donis with an emphatic 3-0 win over Ermis Aradippou. Argentinian De Vincenti, a January signing for Apoel, grabbed a brace with Aloneftis scoring the third. It was one of Apoel’s best displays this season even though it has to be said Ermis was deprived of at least six outfield players who would have normally made the starting eleven due to suspensions and injuries. The win moved Apoel into third leapfrogging Ermis.It seemed that Anorthosis’ bad run would continue when they fell behind to a Silas goal early on in the game against Ethnikos Achnas. However they fought back, equalizing through an own goal and securing all three points with Roberto Colautti’s eleventh goal of the season. Ethnikos’s had to finish the game with ten men after Silas received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.Everybody believed that yesterdays clash between AEK Larnaca and Omonia would have been the day’s top game. Unfortunately it was a dour spectacle with chances few and far between, both teams content on not losing rather than trying to win. The only talking point of the game, even mentioned by the Omonia coach during the after match press conference, was whether the referee had added enough injury time!Doxa Katokopias returned to winning ways with an easy 5-1 win against bottom of the table and relegation bound Alki. The team from Katokopia proved too strong for Alki, leading at half-time through a Leonardo goal and netting four more times after the break. Due to point deductions because of financial irregularities Alki have minus 24 (-24) points.last_img read more

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Louis van Gaal targets Premier League title

first_imgAs Manchester United fans delighted in an exuberant attacking display against Queens Park Rangers inspired by Angel Di Maria they would have been equally happy to watch an outstanding debut performance by Daley Blind.The versatile Dutchman played a disciplined midfield holding role, protecting his defenders and seamlessly controlling possession with clever movement and a stream of accurate short passes.Blind’s industry and calming influence provided a solid platform from which to unleash the flair of Di Maria, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney as United powered to an emphatic 4-0 win in the autumn sunshine at Old Trafford.“He is a player who can see situations in advance,” United manager Louis van Gaal told Manchester United television.“He can always pass to the free player and when he doesn’t have the ball, he knows when he has to press the opponent. That’s a very good ability to have.“I like him as a defensive midfielder, but he can also play in central defence or at left full back. He can run for 90 minutes too and is always fit. That’s another very good quality for a player.”QPR were, admittedly, weak opposition and far tougher tests lie ahead but Van Gaal was a happy man after overseeing his team’s first win of the season.“When you have a result of 4-0, then you can be happy as a coach, but you always have points you can improve,” he told reporters.“We have always to analyse what we have done. The result is fantastic but we can get much better.“I said ‘let’s make a new start today’.”It certainly felt like a new start after months of misery for United who enjoyed a trophy-laden 20-year spell under Alex Ferguson’s management before last season’s dismal seventh-place finish with David Moyes at the helm.Di Maria opened the scoring with a free kick from out wide, Rooney teed up Ander Herrera for his first United goal and the England forward’s crisp shot put United 3-0 up at halftime.Mata added a fourth before Old Trafford rose to acclaim the introduction of substitute Radamel Falcao for another much- anticipated debut.The Colombian striker showed his predatory instincts when he latched on to a rebound after Blind’s powerful shot was parried by Rob Green but his effort was well saved by the goalkeeper.“My teams are always focused on attack, but it is not our focus – that is to be in the first three,” Van Gaal said.“The most important thing is the trajectory.”“I want to win the Premier League title,” said the United boss, who also handed Marcos Rojo his debut on Sunday.“If it is not this year then the second or third year. I want to give a championship to the fans.”After the misery of Moyes’s reign, United fans will relish their manager’s confidence.The victory over QPR lifted United into the top half of the table after four matches and the next two games are away to Leicester City and home to West Ham United.If Van Gaal can maintain his team’s upward trajectory, they will be in good shape for the much harder challenges that lie ahead.last_img read more

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Barca on another level, says APOEL boss Donis

first_imgBy Andreas VouAPOEL were handed a masterclass by Lionel Messi, who scored a record-breaking hat-trick at the GSP Stadium on Tuesday night as Barcelona ran out 4-0 winners in Nicosia on Matchday Five of the Champions League.The Cypriots set out to frustrate their opponents as they had done in their previous meeting in Barcelona in September where they narrowly lost out by a single goal. This time, however, the Catalans played at a much higher tempo which APOEL were unable to cope with.Despite limiting Luis Enrique’s team to very little in the opening third of the game, APOEL went a goal down on 27 minutes after a wonderful piece of skill and finish from Luis Suarez who scored his first goal for the club since his big-money move from Liverpool in the summer.“Obviously it’s important for a striker to be scoring goals even though the priority is that you are playing well for the team. But it feels good to get off the mark,” said the Uruguayan.Speaking of APOEL, Suarez said: “We knew they would play with ten men behind the ball because that is the way they played at the Camp Nou but we played well in the first half, we took our chances and could have maybe gone in with an even bigger lead.”Just before half-time, Barça doubled their lead through Messi. The Argentine superstar surpassed the all-time La Liga scoring tally on Saturday with a hat-trick over Sevilla and his goal on 38 minutes shattered another record. It was his 72nd goal in the Champions League, taking him one above former Real Madrid striker Raul. “I am happy because it is something very nice to achieve in a competition as beautiful as this but, above all of this, were the three points,” said the 27-year-old.Messi would go on to score two more in the second-half, to complete a rare right-footed hat-trick and further extend his new record.In the APOEL goal was Urko Pardo, Messi’s former youth team-mate at Barcelona who was gracious in defeat after the game. “Congrats Leo. I didn’t want it (the record) to happen tonight but you are too good. You are a star both on and off the field,” Urko wrote, along with a photo with the record-breaker on his official Twitter account.APOEL manager Giorgos Donis criticised his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain earler this month but could not complain about his side’s display this time around, admitting that their opponents were a step above.“We are talking about a team on another level. Even when you see these teams and players from up close, you realise that they play in an unbelievable way. It was a good experience for us, an experience always helps even when the result is bad because you face these players and that makes you better in the future.“It is not easy to analyse such a game because we see that all teams that face Barcelona suffer what we did today.“The Champions League matches cannot be compared with those of the league. We will take a look at our problems, we will rest and have a good game on Sunday and win,” the Greek boss told Cytavision. Despite having not yet won a game in Group F, APOEL could still reach the knockout round of the Europa League should they defeat Ajax, who lie a point ahead of them in third place, when the two sides meet on December 10 in the Dutch capital.last_img read more

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Resilient Monaco stun Arsenal

first_imgBy Mike CollettAS Monaco gave Arsenal a lesson in patient, counter-attacking football to win their Champions League last 16 first leg-match 3-1 in London on Wednesday and take a stranglehold on the tie.French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia put the visitors ahead after 38 minutes when he crashed in a long-range shot that took a deflection off Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker, leaving goalkeeper David Ospina helpless.Bulgarian veteran Dimitar Berbatov, continually jeered by the home fans because of his links with their arch-rivalsTottenham Hotspur, added the second after 53 minutes after a devastating Monaco counter-attack.Arsenal pulled one back at the end when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain curled home from the edge of the area, but Monaco restored their two-goal advantage through Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, who netted deep into stoppage time.Arsenal wasted several chances with Olivier Giroud spurning four scoring opportunities to leave Arsenal with a mountain to climb in the second leg in Monaco on March 17.Arsene Wenger’s current team flew out of the blocks against his old one, testing the resilience of Monaco’s rock-solid defence with a series of early raids.Giroud went close with a header during Arsenal’s opening dominant spell, and then wasted three chances after the break before being substituted, but Monaco weathered the early storm, subduing both the crowd and the home players.The visitors gradually played their way into the match with winger Anthony Martial and Joao Moutinho looking particularly dangerous, but it was still a surprise when they took the lead through Kondogbia’s long-range effort.There was no real surprise, however, when they doubled their advantage as they were playing the better football when Berbatov’s powerful finish ended a swift break.The hosts were given a lifeline in the first minute of stoppage time when Oxlade-Chamberlain pounced on a clearing header before curling home, but their celebrations were short-lived as Ferreira-Carrasco finished emphatically.last_img read more

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Dramatic Dortmund return for Liverpool’s Klopp

first_imgJurgen Klopp’s Europa League nightmare came true on Friday when his Liverpool side were drawn to meet former club Borussia Dortmund in next month’s quarter-finals.Sevilla, bidding to win the trophy for the third successive season, will tackle La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao while Villarreal take on Sparta Prague and Braga face Shakhtar Donetsk.After Liverpool knocked out bitter rivals Manchester United on Thursday, Klopp told reporters: “I hope we don’t get Dortmund”.The charismatic German spent seven seasons at Dortmund, leading them to two Bundesliga titles, German Cup glory and the 2013 Champions League final where they lost to Bayern Munich.“He comes back!”, said Dortmund playmaker Ilkay Gundogan on Twitter after hearing news of the draw.Liverpool, without a major trophy since they lifted the League Cup in 2012, will travel to Germany for the first leg on April 7 before hosting the return match at Anfield seven days later.It is 50 years since the two teams met in the final of the now-defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1966, Dortmund winning 2-1.The Germans reached the last eight by defeating another English club, Tottenham Hotspur, in the last 16.Sevilla have won their last two La Liga fixtures against Bilbao 2-0 but the teams have never met before in European competition.Villarreal and Sparta have also never been drawn together before while Ukrainians Shakhtar, who won the UEFA Cup in 2009, beat Braga of Portugal twice in the group stage of the 2010-11 Champions League. Full draw:Borussia Dortmund (England) v Liverpool (England)Sporting Braga (Portugal) v Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)Villarreal (Spain) v Sparta Prague (Czech Republic)Athletic Bilbao (Spain) v Sevilla (Spain)The ties will be played on 7 and 14 April.last_img read more

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PNG to play for bronze in men’s soccer

first_imgThe match was locked at nil-all at half time in a tight half of play.But mistakes in the second half cost the game for PNG as Tahiti scored twice through striker Fred Tisot  and later Tayatayu Lucas.PNG’S Tommy Semmy provided some hope, scoring late in the game from a penalty but it wasn’t meant to be as Tahiti defended their lead to the end.PNG’S coach Ricki Herbert said it was a disappointing loss and that silly mistakes had cost PNG the game.”It’s disappointing but we will progress and continue to build from here. We’re going to put our best foot forward and are looking forward to the bronze medal play-off this Friday,” said Herbert.PNG will play the loser of the second semi-final between Fiji and New Caledonia. This game will get underway at 2:30pm today.Finals for soccer will be played at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium.last_img read more

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Governor sponsors WNB touch team with 20 000

first_imgTouch rugby in West New Britain is popular with a good number of players making the national team for both men and women.In presenting the money, Muthuvel said he is in close talks with the vice president of Corporate Touch Port Moresby, Dadi Toka Jr and Pilai Sports Director Martin Joffey who have agreed to work together to further develop the code in the province.Muthuvel also donated balls to the 4 running touch rugby associations in the province – Admiralty, Batas, Gigo and Black Ants.The national touch championships are scheduled for the 17th to 19th September this year in Kokopo.last_img read more

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Grand finals loom for Duban Cup teams

first_imgMatch commissioner James Kasi told PNG Loop that the women’s division have completed their first semi final with Hawks proving too strong, defeating Souths to find a spot in the grand final play offs while Souths will run up against North Raiders this weekend to see the winner who will move into the grand final.Kasi said the under 19 grade division will see Royals taking on Knights while North will go up against Pythons to see who will be the winners to advance into the grand final.Kasi said the A grade division  of the senior division will see Warriors taking on Brothers while Pythons will challenge Tarangu and both match winners will advance to the grand final.He said so far the tournament had been good with teams showing the  true colours of sportsmanship and play without fear or favour.“The aim of the tournament is to find and hopefully make a pathway into the Digicel Cup competition which is the aim of the Minister and Madang MP Nixon Duban behind the tournament,” Kasi said.He said that Nixon Duban has pumped in K50, 000 for this tournament and wanted to take this tournament to another level.Caption:  One of the preliminary  finals  games at Lloyd Robson Oval.last_img read more

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Group hosts named for 2017

first_imgOFC Competitions Director Chris Kemp said the federations and clubs put forward some impressive bid documents which made the final decision difficult in some cases.“We received some very professional and well considered bids from the clubs,” Kemp said.Group A will be hosted in New Caledonia’s capital Noumea, where AS Magenta will be welcoming Hekari United, AS Central United and the runners-up from the Qualifying Stage.New Caledonia will also be the base for Group B, this time it will be Champions League debutants Hienghene Sport hosting in the northern city of Kone. The 2016 runners-up Team Wellington will be joined there by the winners of the Qualifying Stage and the Fiji champions.In Group C, eight-time champions Auckland City FC will host the champions from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands runners-up along with Papua New Guinea club Lae City Dwellers, who make their second consecutive appearance in this competition.Finally Group D will see the Solomon Islands champions and the runners-up from Fiji and Vanuatu hosted by Fédération Tahitienne de Football’s club champions AS Tefana in Papeete.Kemp said there were several key areas which the OFC Competitions Department considered when analysing the bids.“In New Caledonia and Tahiti especially, the support of the federation and the experience and expertise they have committed helped elevate the respective clubs’ bids.“With the unsuccessful bids we have been able to outline to club management the exact reasons why they weren’t successful this time around, and hopefully they can make improvements between now and the next edition to put themselves in contention to host.”Group ANoumea, New CaledoniaAS Magenta (NCL)Hekari United (PNG)AS Central United (TAH)Qualifying Stage Runner-UpGroup BKone, New CaledoniaTeam Wellington (NZL)Fiji Winner (FIJ)Hienghene Sport (NCL)Qualifying Stage WinnerGroup CAuckland, New ZealandAuckland City FC (NZL)Vanuatu Winner (VAN)Lae City Dwellers (PNG)Solomon Islands Runner-Up (SOL)Group DPapeete, TahitiAS Tefana (TAH)Solomon Islands Winner (SOL)Fiji Runner-Up (FIJ)Vanuatu Runner-Up (VAN)last_img read more

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Moses strike gives Chelsea win at Burnley

first_imgVictor Moses struck a 69th-minute winner for Chelsea to give Antonio Conte’s side a 2-1 Premier League victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on Thursday.Chelsea had taken a 20th-minute lead through a Kevin Long own goal and were well in control of the game before Burnley drew level when Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s low drive went in off Burnley striker Ashley Barnes.But the Blues restored their lead when a cross from the left from Emerson reached Moses at the back post and he took his time before firing past Nick Pope.The win moved fifth-placed Chelsea to within five points of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. The loss ended Burnley’s five-match winning streak.last_img read more

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