Mancini: City on track for Chelsea curtain-raiser

5 August 2012 18:14

Roberto Mancini says Manchester City’s friendly victory over Wolfsburg was important ahead of the Community Shield match against Chelsea.

Reigning English Premier League champions City beat the Bundesliga side 2-0 on Saturday thanks to goals from Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero at the Volkswagen Arena.

“I am always pleased when we win because I think that it is important to play well,” Mancini told the City website.

“It is important to put in a good performance and I thought this evening, without a lot of (first-choice) players, we played well, we scored two goals and I think this was very important.”

According to Mancini, Euro 2012 has affected his team’s pre-season preparations, as he had not yet been able to work with his full squad.

“In a year when there is a World Cup or European Championship it is very difficult to put together a team,” he said.

“I think we start to work with all players next Tuesday and it’s a very, very strange situation but we hope we work well and I think we will do well in the future.”

As league champions, City take on FA Cup winners Chelsea on August 12 in the Community Shield at Villa Park, and Mancini is looking forward to the occasion.

“I think that it is important that all the team is working very well, because now we have one week to decide the team for an important cup against a top team like Chelsea,” he said.

“We know that it will be a difficult game because Chelsea won the Champions League last year, they are a top team with fantastic players but I think we will have a good game.

“I am happy, it was really difficult (against Wolfsburg) because we didn’t have all our players, but now we start and in one week we play this important game.”

Ankle surgery for Gomez

5 August 2012 18:13

Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez will have surgery on an ankle injury.

Gomez suffered the injury in the Liga Total! Cup semi-final shoot-out defeat to Werder Bremen on Saturday.

The 27-year-old was stretchered off just before the half-time whistle at the Imtech Arena in Hamburg, where it was later discovered that he would require an operation to rectify the problem.

Speaking on Sunday, Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer admitted: “He is not good. He needs surgery. Then we’ll see how long he’s out for.”

The match finished 2-2, with Bremen winning the penalty shootout 4-2.

The Germany striker follows the likes of Rafinha (torn knee ligament), Diego Contento (hairline foot fracture) and David Alaba (stress foot fracture) on the club’s treatment table with long-term injuries.

SPL: Dundee United 3 Hibernian 0

5 August 2012 17:51

Dundee United got their Scottish Premier League campaign off to the best possible start, beating a lacklustre Hibernian 3-0 on Sunday.

Goals from Johnny Russell, Jon Daly and substitute Michael Gardyne secured all three points in front of 7,267 fans at Tannadice Park and extended their unbeaten run against Hibernian to seven matches, a streak stretching back to May 2010.

United drew 2-2 with Russian club Dinamo Moscow in their Europa League first leg match midweek and manager Peter Houston named an unchanged side for Sunday’s match.

And it paid immediate dividends as Russell fired past Hibernian goalkeeper Ben Williams after three minutes.

Williams was in the thick of the action again moments later after the former Manchester United trainee failed to deal with Russell’s shot but fortunately for the goalkeeper, the ball went wide for a corner.

The score remained the same at half-time and despite United’s dominance it was not until the 74th minute that they doubled their advantage.

Gary Mackay-Steven unleashed a powerful strike which deflected off the head of Daly and into the net.

The home side added a third deep into stoppage time courtesy of a goal from summer signing Gardyne, who was played in by midfielder John Rankin.

Disappointed Pardew laments no goals

5 August 2012 16:39

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has expressed his frustration with his side’s goalless draw at Eredivisie outfit Den Haag on Saturday.

The Magpies enjoyed the majority of chances at the Kyocera Stadium, with Demba Ba, Gabriel Obertan and Papiss Cisse all producing threatening shots on goal.

However, a goal remained elusive for the Magpies, with Pardew revealing after the final whistle that the conditions did not suit their style of play.

“The grass was really long,” he told Newcastle’s official website.

“So when you want to cut through teams and play fast, quick football, the pitch isn’t going to allow that. It makes it difficult.

“But we should have won the game. We had four or five great set plays and we’ve got to score those.

“There was only going to be one winner in my opinion but (we) just couldn’t open the moment.

“We perhaps lacked a little bit of creativity and flair, so that’s something we need to work on.

“I’m a bit disappointed that we haven’t won, but the overriding factor is that everybody gave everything.”

Despite a poor result against Den Haag, Pardew is happy his side can enjoy a clean bill of health for the busy week they have ahead.

The Magpies visit Hartlepool on Tuesday night before playing their final pre-season friendly over the border at Cardiff.

“There were no injuries as well, which is another big plus,” Pardew said.

“We came off and everybody looks like they are ready for Tuesday. We go to Hartlepool and will try to win there.”

CSL wrap: Danalache hat-trick not enough

5 August 2012 16:22

Jiangsu Sainty missed the chance to climb above Guangzhou Evergrande and into top spot in the Chinese Super League on Sunday.

Before the kick-off, Jiangsu needed a win to overhaul Evergrande’s two-point lead at the summit but not even a first half hat-trick from the league’s leading goal scorer Cristian Danalache was enough to avoid a 3-3 draw against Shandong Luneng.

Du Wei thought he had spoiled the party for Jiangsu with a goal inside the opening two minutes but Danalache struck an equaliser just four minutes later, much to the delight of the home faithful.

Shandong hit the front yet again, this time through Lu Zheng on 18 minutes, however proved to be the last time the visitors enjoyed the lead.

Danalache levelled on 30 minutes and he then stepped up from the spot to not only hand Jiangsu a 3-1 lead on the stroke of half-time but net his 17th goal of the campaign.

And to continue the tone of the match, Simao Junior equalised on the hour mark as relegation-threatened Shandong took a valuable point.

In Guangzhou, R&F were unable to move into the top four after Tianjin Teda accounted for the host side 2-1.

Nigerian striker Yakubu netted his third goal for R&F in the 22nd minute but Cao Yang and Sjoerd Ars both found the back of the net to help Tianjin catapult into seventh position.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Shenxin salvaged a priceless point at Dalian Aerbin courtesy of an 82nd minute strike from former A-League midfielder Jonas Salley.