Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Merseyside derby highlights cup draw

Premier League leader Liverpool will host Merseyside neighbor Everton while Manchester United will face Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in the fourth round of the FA Cup following the draw made on Sunday. Liverpool and Everton have met 20 times in the competition including the finals of 1986 and 1989, both of which Liverpool won. Manchester United, which beat Southampton 3-0 in Sunday's late match, will face Spurs at Old Trafford at the fourth-round stage for the second successive season. United, which has won the FA Cup a record 11 times, beat Spurs, which has won it eight times, 3-1 there a year ago. United and Spurs are both in the semi-finals of the League Cup and could meet in the final of that competition at Wembley Stadium on March 1.

Friday, December 5, 2008

De La Hoya, Pacquiao trade punches tonight

Renowned trainer Angelo Dundee believes Oscar De La Hoya has the perfect style to beat WBC lightweight champion Manny Pacquiao in their highly anticipated welterweight clash today.

Dundee, who has trained such great fighters as Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman, acted as an adviser to De La Hoya during his training camp. "We found out stuff he can do against Pacquiao," Dundee told reporters on Thursday. "Exactly what we did, that's our business, and you'll see on Saturday night (tonight). "There are certain things you can do in a fight. Like when Ray Leonard fought Marvin Hagler (in 1987), I noticed that every time Hagler stepped forward, he would punch.

"So I said to Ray Leonard, when he steps, take a move, so he can't punch. Manny Pacquiao does things like that. And we know what he does." Dundee acknowledged, however, that Pacquiao, 47-3-2 (35 KOs) presented unique challenges. "Nobody fights like Pacquiao," he said. "He's got his own style, he's an awkward guy, and he's a busy guy."

Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach said De La Hoya, 39-5 (30 KOs) would struggle with Pacquiao's fast-paced, aggressive style during today's fight in Las Vegas.

"Manny Pacquiao's one of those fighters who's very hard to read," he said. "He doesn't do usual things. He throws punches from odd angles, you don't know where he's coming from. "You don't know what he's going to next, because he doesn't know either."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hamilton makes history after Brazil thriller

An emotional Lewis Hamilton admitted he was virtually lost for words and did not know he had succeeded when he became the youngest man to win the Formula One drivers' world championship.

Youngest Formula 1 champion - 03 / 11 / 2008 07:21

The 23-year-old Englishman, needing a top five finish to be champion, only seized fifth place for McLaren Mercedes again, after losing it, on the final lap of a tense, dramatic and rain-hit Brazilian Grand Prix won by his title rival and local hero Felipe Massa of Ferrari.

As Massa triumphed and then celebrated, briefly, Hamilton caught and passed German Timo Glock of Toyota to turn his day from despair to joy after earlier appearing to have controlled his own race by cruising towards fourth or fifth place.

A late shower of rain then created chaos and saw Hamilton change tyres and fall back to sixth before he made his final desperate charge to recover and claim fifth.

But as he said afterwards Hamilton was not even sure that he had won the title when he finally crossed the line in teeming rain and near-darkness in front of 100,000 spectators at the Interlagos circuit.

His father Anthony Hamilton who has guided his career all the way from junior karting days when they were a poor family from a council estate in Stevenage, England, to the top, said: "This proves to everyone else, like us, that it can be done.

"It has come from 16 years of hard work and dedication and respect."

Massa who finished the season in style with a dazzling win in front of his home crowd ended up in tears as he stood atop the victors' podium.

He had won six races this season to Hamilton's five but missed the championship 98 points to 97.

"It has been such an emotional day for me, I drove a perfect race and everything went to well," he said.

"Then the rain came at the end again and I knew what was happening. We thought it was going to happen and it almost did, then I saw Lewis passing Timo Glock and I suddenly had such a lot of emotions.

"I was so emotional, but I am proud of the team, of my team, my family, the people here today and the whole season and the championship. It is one more day of my life, Lewis has won it and I am going to learn from this."

Driving with great control and judgement, Hamilton avoided the early problems that wrecked his bid to become the first rookie champion last year as he steered his McLaren Mercedes to glory after a tense contest and an extraordinary final lap.

Only on that final lap did Hamilton regain a place when Glock lost 18 seconds in his Toyota and slipped behind Hamilton.

As well as being the youngest champion, Hamilton also became the first black Formula One title holder on a stirring afternoon in front of an impassioned 100,000 crowd at the Interlagos circuit.

The race, run in unpredictable wet and dry conditions, was won comprehensively by his nearest rival and local hero Massa.

Hamilton allowed Massa in his Ferrari to run away at the front and claim his sixth win this year and the 11th victory of his career.

Massa was followed home by two times champion Fernando Alonso of Renault and third placed Ferrari team mate and outgoing champion Kimi Raikkonen.

German youngster Sebastien Vettel was fourth for Toro Rosso after passing Hamilton in the final laps and Hamilton fifth, just, after his late recovery when Glock slowed down and finished sixth.

Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen of Finland came home seventh.

Hamilton's triumph made him first Briton to take the world title since Damon Hill in 1996 and the first McLaren champion since Finn Mika Hakkinen in 1999. He is Britain 's ninth champion.

The previous youngest champion was Alonso who was 24 years, one month and 27 days old when he won the title in 2005.

Hamilton was 23 years, nine months and 26 days old as he drove to glory on Sunday.

Massa had been hoping to be the first Brazilian champion since Ayrton Senna in 1991.

While Hamilton and Massa will be back next season for Scot David Coulthard this was the last race before retirement but the veteran winner of 13 grand prix did not make it to the first bend after slipping off when his Red Bull was hit by Nico Rosberg's Williams.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekend Review: Africans In Europe,Asians In Europe

Samm Audu considers the performances of some of the top African stars plying their trade in Europe this week...

Weekend Review: Africans In Europe


Mohammed Tchite from Burundi continued his fine form in front of goal for the second week running. He turned on the style when netting a hat-trick for Racing Santander in a 4-2 victory at Valencia. He was on target in the 23rd, 49th and 80th minutes.


Nigeria international midfielder Seyi Olofinjana scored his second goal in the Premier League as his club Stoke City created a huge upset by beating Arsenal 2-1.

A week after South Africa striker Benni McCarthy emerged as the hero for Blackburn Rovers with a late equaliser against Middlesbrough, he was back in the news for the wrong reasons after he was red carded for a second booking against West Bromwich Albion - though he had put Rovers in front from the penalty spot before collecting his second yellow in the 36th minute of the 2-2 draw.

Egypt striker Ahmed Hossam ‘Mido’ recovered from a muscle injury from the previous weekend to score for Middlesbrough in a 1-1 draw with West Ham.

Compatriot Amr Zaki was again on target for Wigan as they clinched full points at Portsmouth. It was his eighth goal of the season.

Gabon international Daniel Cousin was on target in Hull City’s 4-3 loss at champions Manchester United.


Chinedu Ogbuke-Obasi from Nigeria grabbed his second brace of the season to take his club Hoffenheim to the top of the Bundesliga. He followed up on the double he scored against Hamburg last week. He has thus far scored five goals and made two assists in his debut season in the German top flight.


Gabonese striker Eric Moloungui underlined his consistency with the match winner for Nice against Paris Saint-Germaine. His goal last week ensured Nice shared the points with Bordeaux.

Moroccan star Youssouf Hadji scored the match-winning goal in the 69th minute for Nancy versus Bordeaux.

Nigeria international defender Taye Taiwo powered home a header as Olympique Marseille romped to a 3-1 win at home.

Adil Rami of Moroccan descent opened the scoring as Lille beat Nantes 2-0 while Mauritanian Amoudou Alassane was also on target for Le Havre, although his team lost at home 3-2 to Monaco.


Morocco’s Mounir El-Hamdaoui cracked his 12th goal of the season in a 3-3 draw at SC Heerenveen.

Fellow countryman Youssef El Akchaoui scored from the penalty spot and Burundi star Saidi Ntibazonkiza also scored as NEC Nijimegen beat Sparta Rotterdam 2-0.

Dutch-Moroccan Ali Boussaboun netted for FC Utrecht in a 2-0 home win over Heracles Almelo.


Recently capped Nigeria international Joseph Akpala struck twice against visiting Kortrijk to bring to six the total number of his goals thus far for Club Brugge.

African goals all the way in the clash between champions Standard Liege and Charleroi. Benjamin Nicaise scored for Standard only for Charleroi to record an upset with goals from the Moroccan Mouchine Iajour and Mahamadou Habibou, who is from Central Africa.

Bertin Tomou of Cameroon found the back of the net twice as his club Westerlo held home team FCV Dender to a 2-2 draw.

Little known Nigerian Marvin Ogunjimi hit a brace as KRC Genk won 3-1 at Tubize while Togo’s Adekammi Olufade scored for KAA Gent in their 2-0 victory over Zulte-Waregem.


Guinea’s Ibrahim Yattara scored one of the four goals Trabzonspor recorded away at Istanbul


Cameroon’s Albert Meyong Ze drew his team Sporting Braga level in the 62nd minute away at Academica de Coimbra. The match finished 1-1.

Samm Audu

Goal.com Special: Asians In Europe

It is that time of the week again when Goal.com Asia looks at the what some of Asia's biggest stars have been up to in the bigglest leagues in the world.

Goal.com Special: Asians In Europe

Park Chu-young (South Korea and AS Monaco)

Park got his second goal for his new club and it turned out to be decisive. Alejandro César Alonso crossed for the Korean to score four minutes after the break. It put Monaco 3-1 ahead of Le Havre and his team won 3-2. It was a lively game from the Korean and Monaco climb away from the relegation zone.

Makoto Hasebe (Japan and Wolfsburg)

Hasebe started on the bench but replaced Zvjezdan Misimovic after 19 minutes. He could do nothing however about Wolfsburg's 2-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen.

Hussein Sulimani (Saudi Arabia andNeuchatel Xamax)

The defender played the full match in the Swiss league but couldn’t prevent his team losing 2-1 at FC Aarau.

Takayuki Morimoto (Japan and Catania)

The young striker came on midway through the second half as Catania lost 1-0 at Lazio.

Shao Jiayi (China and Energie Cottbus)

The midfielder has had a year to forget but is starting to return to action after injury. He was withdrawn on the hour as Cottbus lost 2-0 at home to Schalke.

Masoud Shojaei (Iran and Osasuna)

Another week, another defeat for last-placed Osasuna. Shojaei came on for the last half-hour as the team went down 1-0 at Espanyol. He had little effect on the match.

Park Ji-sung (South Korea and Manchester United)

Park stayed on the bench as United almost let a 4-1 lead against Hull City slip.

Youssef Mohamad (Lebanon and FC Koln)

The defender has a good game as Koln had a great win –a 3-1 victory at Stuttgart.

Shinji Ono (Japan and Bochum)

Ono was nowhere to be seen as Bochum drew 1-1 at Borussia Dortmund.

Lee Young-pyo (South Korea and Borussia Dortmund)

Lee is settling down nicely in Germany and played the full ninety as Dortmund drew 1-1 at home to VfL Bochum.

Javad Nekounam (Iran and Osasuna)

The midfielder played the whole game as Osasuna lost again – this time 1-0 at Espanyol. It was a decent game from the Iranian but the Pamplona team are in trouble.

Shunsuke Nakamura (Japan and Celtic)

The playmaker is still recovering from injury and was on the bench as Celtic won 2-0 at Hearts to go to the top of the league.

Vahid Hashemian (Iran and Bochum)

The helicopter returned to action –but not to the scoresheet -as Bochum climbed out of the bottom three with a 1-1 draw at Borussia Dortmund. Hashemian was replaced after 64 minutes.

Junichi Inamoto (Japan and Eintracht Frankfurt)

Inamoto played the full ninety as Frankfurt continued their resurgence by coming back from two goals down to win 3-2 at Energie Cottbus.

Roda Antar (Lebanon and Koln)

Antar is having a good season and was instrumental as Koln won 3-1 at Stuttgart.

Kim Do-heon (South Korea and West Brom)

After a month out through injury, Kim was an unused sub as the Baggies drew 2-2 at home to Blackburn.

Daisuke Matsui (Japan and St Etienne)

The Japanese star came on eight minutes after the break with a struggling St Etienne team trailing 2-1. It ended 3-1 as Les Verts slipped closer to the bottom.

Mehdi Mahdavikia (Iran and Eintracht Frankfurt)

Kia was left out of the squad as Frankfurt won again –this time a 2-1 win triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach.

Seol Ki-hyeon (South Korea and Fulham)

Seol didn't make the squad as Fulham defeat at Everton.

Andranik Teymourian (Iran and Fulham)

Teymourian was not in the squad for Fulham's loss at Everton

Ali Al Habsi (Oman and Bolton)

A familiar story for the giant goalkeeper who was an unused substitute as Bolton beat Manchester City 2-0.

John Duerden

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vettel claims historic Italy GP win

But world championship leader Lewis Hamilton had a nightmare afternoon, getting his tyre choice all wrong in his McLaren and will start in 15th place, nine spots behind title rival Felipe Massa in a Ferrari.

Vettel, the 21-year-old Torro Rosso pilot, was delighted with his performance.

"It is just fantastic that this has happened. I can't believe it myself. Before the session, I said that with all the rain I could go for the pole and I was only joking.

"I really did not expect it and it is amazing. This is a dream come true. It is such a great day for us and for the team," said Vettel, touted as the heir to compatriot Michael Schumacher.

"We have made such huge progress in the last couple of years. But there was so much water out there and at the Ascari chicane it was just so difficult not to go off."

He added: "Now everyone will know there are two Italian teams in Formula One - one big one called Ferrari and us, we are also an Italian team, but a bit smaller!

Sebastian Vettel, of Germany, steers his Toro Rosso on his way to clocking the fastest time during practice for Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix in Monza, Italy, Saturday, Sept.13, 2008.

But Vettel refused to get carried away with his achievement, saying he needed more than rain to help him hang on to his place and grab his first win in Sunday's big race.

"Obviously, if it is raining it is better to be at the front in a wet race because you can see, you have the best view and then you have a chance.

Vettel bettered the record of two-time world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who grabbed his first pole at the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix aged 21.

The young German made the most of heavy and incessant rain in Saturday's qualifying to seize the grid position on a day when championship-leading Briton Lewis Hamilton could only manage 15th in the drenched conditions.

Toro Rosso's German driver Sebastien Vettel drives at the Monza racetrack near Milan. Vettel has become the youngest driver in Formula One history to take pole for a Grand Prix when he topped the times during a rain-battered qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix

Hamilton, who was controversially stripped of victory at last week's Belgian Grand Prix, admitted he had blundered over tyre choice.

"It was a joint decision to go out on wet-weather tyres at the start of Q2 - partly mine and partly my engineers'," said Hamilton.

"We thought it was the right way to go at the time because it was getting drier, but the grip level was poor so I came in and switched to extremes.

"By the time I got out, it had begun to rain and I just missed the window when the track was at its fastest."

Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, of Finland, was second fastest and will share the front row with Vettel, who also delivered a first pole for his Italian team.

Australian Mark Webber was third fastest for Red Bull as the rain teemed down at Monza and Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais fourth in the second Toro Rosso - proof the team had judged the conditions perfectly.

German Nico Rosberg was fifth for Williams ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa, who was sixth for Ferrari.

His team-mate, defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, was down in 16th place behind Hamilton.

He has never previously finished better than eighth.

Italian Jarno Trulli was seventh for Toyota ahead of two times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Renault, German Timo Glock for Toyota and another German Nick Heidfeld for BMW Sauber.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Phelps stands tall as records fall at Olympics

With world records falling all around him, Michael Phelps stood tall -- twice -- on the top of the Olympic medal podium on Wednesday. The American swimmer won his fourth and fifth gold medals of the Beijing Games, setting two world records along the way. That brought his career total to a record 11 gold medals with three more events to go for him to become the first to win eight gold medals at a single games.

“There is still something left in the tank,” Phelps said. “I've got three races left, so there had better be something left in the tank.”

In women's gymnastics, China won the team event, outscoring the favored United States by more than two points. It was the first Olympic gold for the Chinese, who beat the Americans for their first world title in 2006. The error-prone Americans struggled for consistency, falling off the beam and stepping out of bounds. That meant China's final three routines were mere victory dances for Deng Linlin, Jiang Yuyuan and Cheng Fei.

Phelps won the 200-meter butterfly at the Water Cube in a record time of 1 minute, 52.03 seconds, lowering his old mark of 1:52.09 from the 2007 world championships. He later led off the United States team's win in the 4x200 freestyle relay, helping set a record of 6:58.56 as the Americans became the first team to break the 7-minute barrier.

Phelps is alone at the top of the career golds list, now two ahead of Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, Paavo Nurmi and Larysa Latynina.

Spitz is the only man to win seven golds at a singles games, the 1972 Munich Olympics, and Phelps will need to win the 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly and 400 medley relay to surpass him.

In the semifinals of the 100 free, Eamon Sullivan of Australia and Alain Bernard of France exchanged records. Bernard won the first heat in 47.20, but Sullivan won the second heat in 47.05.

Federica Pelligrini of Italy then set a world record in the women's 200 free, winning gold in 1:54.82. In the 200 individual medley, Stephanie Rice of Australia completed her IM sweep with another world record of 2:08.45.

Kristin Armstrong won the gold medal in the women's time trial, making her the second American woman to become an Olympic champion cyclist after Connie Carpenter-Phinney. Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland won the men's time trial.

In diving, China completed its monopoly of the synchronized events with a dominating victory in men's 3-meter springboard, putting the host nation on course for a golden sweep. Wang Feng and Qin Kai had the highest-scoring dive in each of the six rounds, piling up a total of 469.08 points.

Railway worker Steeve Guenot won France's first Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling gold medal in 84 years by taking the 66-kilogram weight class.

Chen Ying won gold in the 25-meter pistol, giving China its sixth medal in shooting. Also, Britta Heidemann of Germany won the women's epee and Benjamin Kleibrink of Germany won the men's foil in fencing; Masae Ueno of Japan won the women's 70-kg and Irakli Tsirekidze of Georgia won the men's 90-kg in judo; and Manuchar Kvirkelia of Georgia won the 74-kg in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Zenit aims to emulate CSKA in UEFA Cup final

Zenit St. Petersburg chase their first European silverware when the free-scoring Russian champions take on Rangers in the UEFA Cup final at the City of Manchester Stadium today. Zenit, bidding to become the second Russian side in four seasons to lift the trophy after CSKA Moscow's success in 2005, have produced some memorable performances en route to their first European final. The Russians overcame Villarreal and Olympique Marseille in the early knockout rounds before making the rest of Europe sit up with a 4-1 quarterfinal, first-leg demolition of Bayer Leverkusen in Germany.

Then, in the semis, Zenit held Bayern Munich at home before stunning the four-time European champions with a 4-0 rout in the return to qualify for the final in style. Zenit coach Dick Advocaat said the UEFA Cup final was the most important game of the season for his club, who have made an indifferent start to the defense of their Russian title.

“That's what I told my players,” the Dutchman told reporters.

“After we beat Bayern I told them if you play like you did against the Germans you have a good chance of winning the trophy. “

Zenit will be without Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, the competition's joint top-scorer with 10 goals, who is suspended but welcome back influential playmaker Andrei Arshavin who missed the second leg of the semifinal. Turkish midfielder Gökdeniz Karadeniz, formerly of Trabzonspor, is also likely to make the starting line-up.

“I don't like to talk about individual players, especially those who will be missing,” said Advocaat.

The final pits Dutchman Advocaat against the club he managed for three and a half years between 1998 and 2002, winning two league titles with the Glasgow side. Rangers are bidding for the quadruple of UEFA Cup and three domestic trophies in a remarkable season that has already yielded one piece of silverware in the shape of the Scottish League Cup.

But their quest for success on four fronts has caused a fixture pile-up which is fully testing the depth of Walter Smith's squad. Rangers have the Scottish title destiny in their own hands -- they trail arch rivals Celtic by four points but will be crowned champions if they win their remaining three games, and their season will end with a Scottish Cup final appearance against Queen of the South on May 24.The foundations for their fine UEFA Cup run have been laid on a rock-solid defense that has conceded just two goals in eight matches since they parachuted into the competition after finishing third in their Champions League group.

Rangers have knocked out Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen, Sporting and Fiorentina, in a penalty shootout, to reach the final, their first European showpiece since they lifted the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1972.